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Judgment reserved in case of murdered prison officer Adrian Ismay

Adrian Ismay

Over a year after it was first opened, judgment was reserved in the trial of a man accused of murdering prison officer Adrian Ismay on Thursday.

Mr Ismay died 11 days after a device exploded underneath his van.

The 52-year old father-of-three had just left his east Belfast home and was driving along Hillsborough Drive at around 7am on March 4 2016 when the device detonated after he went over a speed ramp.

Christopher Alphonsos Robinson, from Aspen Walk in Twinbrook, was arrested after the explosion and was subsequently charged with murdering Mr Ismay.

During the non-jury trial - which was adjourned on several occasions after it was opened in October 2018 - it emerged that the men worked together as volunteers for St John's Ambulance.

As well as denying murdering Mr Ismay, Robinson (49) also denied possessing explosives and providing a car for terrorism.

The car in question is a Citroen C3 which belonged to the accused's brother. It's the Crown's case that the evening before the explosion, Robinson picked up the Citroen from his brother's west Belfast workplace, and that this vehicle was used to transport the bomb left under Mr Ismay's van.

The Crown's claims have been denied by Robinson, with his defence team making the case that the only evidence against him is circumstantial.

Arthur Harvey QC said the Crown had failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt, and had failed to provide any evidence to establish a connect between the Citroen and Robinson "on the evening of the 3rd of March 2016 or the morning of the 4th of March, 2016."

Mr Justice McAlinden has presided over the non-jury trial, and after today's final sitting at Belfast Crown Court, he reserved judgment and said he would give his ruling on a later date.

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Christopher Robinson

Christopher Robinson

Christopher Robinson

Belfast Telegraph