Belfast Telegraph

Man in case linked to UDA boss Boreland killing refuses to take stand

By Michael Donnelly

A 63-year-old cross-community worker accused of providing the car used in the gun murder of one-time senior UDA man John 'Bonzer' Boreland yesterday declined to give evidence on his own behalf.

Thomas Boyd Pearson, formerly of Cliftondene Park in north Belfast but now with an address at Rathglynn in Antrim, denies a single charge of making property available to terrorists, namely a silver Renault Megane used in the murder on August 7, 2016.

Belfast Recorder Judge David McFarland was told by defence QC Terence McDonald that his client had been advised the court may take whatever inferences it feels proper over his refusal to go into the witness box to be questioned.

Earlier the Belfast Crown Court judge had refused to stop the trial ruling that, taking the prosecution evidence at its height, the Duncairn Community Partnership volunteer had a case to answer.

In closing submissions, prosecuting QC David McDowell told the non-jury trial the court could draw the inference, or come to the conclusion, that Mr Pearson knew "more than he was saying" when questioned by police.

The court could also take into account during interview "that he has lied, lied and lied again", and that the prosecution would invite the court to draw the inference his car was used in the murder.

Mr McDowell claimed that Mr Pearson had "given an open-ended permission for his car to be used" and, it could also be implied, he had to "suspect that the car would or may be used for the open-ended benefit of a proscribed organisation".

The lawyer further argued that even if the car was not used by such an organisation, Mr Pearson himself only had to suspect or had reasonable cause to suspect "it was being used" for a proscribed organisation.

Final submissions on behalf of the defence are to be made later.

Two other men - Darren McAllister and Thomas O'Hara - are already awaiting sentence having pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice by burning the silver Megane after the murder.

Boreland was found slumped by his Mercedes after being blasted three times from a shotgun close to his north Belfast home in Sunningdale Gardens.

Belfast Telegraph

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