UVF trial witness: I didn’t rehearse my evidence
A UVF ‘supergrass’ giving evidence against 14 alleged terrorists has denied that police put him through a “rehearsal” for a future court case.
Under cross-examination for the third week, defence QC Arthur Harvey put it to Robert Stewart that after he asked the English officers if he would he be “shredded” by the defence, they essentially gave him a “rehearsal” of what was to come.
The lawyer suggested that from the transcript of the interview held in a secret location on November 13, 2008, police were telling him: “It doesn't matter if your memory is flawed and your accounts are flawed — just stick with the story, as long as you don't admit in court that you have told lies and the agreement will be honoured”.
But Stewart refuted the suggestion, telling Belfast Crown Court that in his view the officer was “trying to reassure me”.
Mr Harvey continued: “You have sat there and said that the truth is something that varies from day to day, account to account, ‘I know my accounts are full of contradictions and anomalies when I said them but I believe I was telling the truth’.”
Stewart agreed, saying: “That's the truth. You are trying to remember 160 different things over a 14-year period, I know. I was sat in that (interview) room for eight weeks — I done the best I could.”
Along with brother David Ian Stewart, Robert Stewart is giving evidence against 14 alleged former UVF comrades. Nine men, including leading loyalist Mark Haddock, deny murdering UDA chief Tommy English.