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PSNI bomb bid accused has bail application rejected

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Police and army bomb disposal experts at Shandon Park Golf Club in June (David Young/PA)

Police and army bomb disposal experts at Shandon Park Golf Club in June (David Young/PA)

Police and army bomb disposal experts at Shandon Park Golf Club in June (David Young/PA)

A man accused of trying to murder a PSNI officer must remain in custody, a judge ruled.

Peter Granaghan was refused bail on charges linked to a bomb found under the off-duty policeman's car at a golf club in east Belfast last year.

Prosecutors claimed the 39-year-old could flee if released, citing his alleged association with a number of dissident republicans.

Granaghan, of Blackrock Park in Belleek, Co Fermanagh, is charged with attempted murder, as well as making and possessing explosives with intent to endanger life.

He denies involvement in the thwarted attack for which terror grouping The New IRA claimed responsibility.

The off-duty officer discovered the booby trap bomb below his car while it was parked at Shandon Park Golf Cub on June 1.

He had just finished a round of golf and was walking back to the vehicle when he spotted something underneath it.

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The bomb under the officer’s car

The bomb under the officer’s car

The bomb under the officer’s car

Army technicians carried out a controlled explosion at the scene to disrupt the device and seize items for forensic examination.

In its claim of responsibility, The New IRA later stated that the bomb would have exploded if it had travelled over uneven terrain.

The organisation warned: "We were unlucky this time, but we only have to be unlucky once."

Granaghan is allegedly linked by partial DNA profiles on components of the bomb.

During a renewed application for bail at Belfast Magistrates' Court on Tuesday, a Crown lawyer contended: "They connect Peter Granaghan, the prosecution say, to making the device."

He claimed searches at the accused's home led to the discovery of republican material which "shows a certain mindset".

Concerns were also raised about Granaghan's alleged association with up to six others, including Co Tyrone man Damien McLaughlin.

In June 2018 McLaughlin was cleared of charges linked to the November 2012 killing of prison officer David Black.

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Cleared: Damien McLaughlin

Cleared: Damien McLaughlin

PA

Cleared: Damien McLaughlin

But at one stage, while on bail, the 43-year-old, from Kilmascally Road, Dungannon, went missing for nearly four months.

He was detained again in Co Donegal in March 2017, and extradited back to Northern Ireland for a trial which ultimately collapsed.

Opposing Granaghan's bid to be released from custody, prosecution counsel argued that his alleged association with McLaughlin increased the risk of absconding.

Defence lawyers insist any forensic traces on wires and battery connectors can be explained by innocent contact during past work as an electrician and handyman.

According to barrister Turlough Madden the DNA is the only evidence against his client.

"His associations and the material found within his household are irrelevant," Mr Madden submitted.

"This is a man who does protest his innocence."

But with a preliminary enquiry in the case now set for June, District Judge George Conner refused bail and remanded Granaghan in custody for another four weeks.

He said: "I'm not satisfied there's a sufficient change in circumstances."

Belfast Telegraph