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Torrens Knight bids to reverse ruling on prison return

Convicted loyalist killer Torrens Knight has launched a legal challenge to the decision to suspend his early release licence.

Knight, who received 12 life sentences for his part in the Greysteel massacre and the separate killing of four workmen, is seeking to judicially review the move by the Secretary of State.

Shaun Woodward suspended his prison release after he was found guilty of attacking two women in a bar in Coleraine in May 2008.

His lawyers claim the decision breached his right to liberty and should not have been taken until after an appeal against the assault convictions is heard.

Dessie Hutton, counsel for Knight, also told the High Court that the Sentence Review Commissioners have still to determine whether to revoke the licence granted under the Good Friday Agreement.

Mr Hutton argued: “He seems, since his release in the year 2000 to have, as they say, turned over a new leaf and disassociated himself with those whom prior to 2000 he appears to have associated himself with.”

Knight was sentenced to four months imprisonment last December for assault and disorderly behaviour.

Although granted bail pending his appeal, he was kept in jail due to the suspension of his licence.

Knight was found guilty of involvement in an attack on the Rising Sun bar in Greysteel in October 1993. Eight people were shot dead when loyalists opened fire inside the pub.

He was also convicted of the murders of four Catholic builders in Castlerock earlier the same year.

Peter Coll, for the Secretary of State, argued that the decision to suspend his licence was appropriate due to the guilty verdict in the assault case.

“It must be open to the Secretary of State to decide matters had reached a tipping point,” he contended.

According to Mr Coll, the view had “crystallised” that Knight now posed a clear risk to the public.

Mr Justice Treacy reserved judgment on whether to grant leave to seek a judicial review.

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