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Teenager accused of flat arson in north Belfast

A teenager deemed "unfit to plead", has appeared before Belfast Crown Court accused of the arson of a flat in the north of the city in March 2010.

The jury was told that because 19-year-old Liam Clarke cannot enter a plea, his was not a "normal criminal trial" as their verdicts will not concern either his guilt or innocence, but whether or not he "committed the act" of arson as charged.

Prosecution lawyer Philip Henry also told the jury that their role would involve them "simply deciding if the defendant was involved in lighting, or starting the fire".

Mr Henry claimed that Clarke, from the Ardoyne Road, was seen in the early hours of March 1, 2010, on CCTV at a nearby garage buying petrol.

Moments later CCTV footage at the Antrim Close complex allegedly showed him returning with a bottle of fuel. The court also heard that within 10 to 11 minutes, Clarke and another person were allegedly seen running from the building.

Mr Henry said given the "ample evidence" the jury would have no difficulty saying the teen was involved in starting the fire.

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