Belfast Telegraph

Police drugs probe used secret supergrass: claim

By George Jackson

A court has been told that the Public Prosecution Service deliberately failed to disclose to defence lawyers the existence of a so-called supergrass in a police anti-drugs investigation.

The claim, which was dismissed by a PPS lawyer, was made at Coleraine Magistrates Court when the case of 13 men and two women from Northern Ireland and England was mentioned before District Judge Richard Wilson.

It was alleged that one of the 15 co-defendants arrested in September 2010, Sean McManus from Portstewart, was seen last year entering a police station in Northumbria.

The lawyer described McManus as being “an assisting offender since April 2011” and said the information only became available after he was seen entering a police station. The lawyer said McManus's role as an assisting offender was discovered “by sheer accident”.

A lawyer for one of the other defendants described McManus as being “essentially a supergrass”.

One defence lawyer said there had been “a mendacious approach from start to finish” by the PPS.

The judge ordered the PPS to be ready for a preliminary inquiry hearing in four weeks' time.

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