Belfast Telegraph

Man accused of being second in command of notorious UDA unit refused bail, judge rules

By Alan Erwin

A man accused of being second in command of a notorious UDA unit must remain in custody, a High Court judge ruled on Friday.

David 'Dee' Coleman was refused bail amid claims that he holds a high-ranking position in the organisation's C Company based in west Belfast's Lower Shankill area.

Prosecutors also alleged that a UDA long-service medal was discovered at a property linked to the 32-year-old.

Coleman, of Hopewell Crescent in the city, is charged with membership of a proscribed organisation between June 14 and October 18 this year.

He was arrested last month by detectives from the PSNI's Paramilitary Crime Taskforce during an operation involving 14 searches at locations in the city, Holywood and Portadown.

Nearly 30 suspected members of the UDA's C Company battalion are under investigation, with a previous court told two of them are believed to be on the run.

The unit is involved in extorting local businesses, punishment beatings, intimidation, drugs and loan sharking, it was alleged.

Coleman is accused of holding a position of second in command, according to the police and prosecution case.

Telephone evidence allegedly links him to the gathering of membership money for the outlawed organisation, a judge was told.

It was claimed that messages attributed to the 32-year-old were signed off 'QS' - an apparent reference to the UDA's Latin motto Quis Separabit (Who will separate us?).

A Crown lawyer also contended that he uses at least five different mobile phones, separately identified as Dee Coleman 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.

She submitted that instructions on the initiation of new members were discovered at an address linked to him.

In court today further allegations emerged that a UDA long-service medal was found at the property too.

Coleman denies the charge against him, with his lawyers describing the case against him as "vague and speculative".

They argued that no direct evidence of membership exists, and called on the prosecution to disclose any intelligence to support their allegations.

But after hearing details of the case, Lord Justice Treacy ruled bail must be refused due to the risk of re-offending.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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