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Kent man Charles Buckingham to stand trial in Paul McCauley murder case after legal challenge fails

By George Jackson

A businessman from England has failed in his legal challenge to have three charges against him, which are linked to the sectarian murder of Catholic civil servant Paul McCauley, dropped.

In a reserved judgment at Londonderry Magistrates Court, District Judge Barney McElholm said he was satisfied that the defendant, Charles Buckingham (61) from Margate in Kent, had been properly connected to the charges and that the prosecution should continue.

The charges relate to the murder of Mr McCauley who died last June, nine years after he sustained critical brain injuries when he and two other men were attacked by a loyalist mob as the victims were attending a barbecue in the Waterside area of Derry on July 16, 2006.

Two local men are currently on bail awaiting trial for Mr McCauley's murder, they are Piper McClements and Matthew Gillen, who is an employee of the defendant. Buckingham is charged with withholding information from police about Mr McCauley's murder, with withholding information about an offence of grievous bodily harm with intent and with withholding information of an offence of attempted grievous bodily harm with intent.

The businessman is alleged to have committed the three offences last December 16.

His prosecution follows a conversation he had with the defendant Gillen when they were both in Scotland last December. Their conversation was secretly recorded by the police and after the defendant Buckingham failed to pass on the information Gillen had told him about the incident in Chapel Road, he was arrested on April 6.

Buckingham's legal team argued that because the alleged offences of withholding information had occurred in Scotland, the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) in Northern Ireland had no jurisdiction there and therefore the defendant could not be tried for the alleged offences.

Mr McElholm said the law stated that there were no geographical limitations in respect of police investigations, adding even though the defendant Buckingham had never set foot in Northern Ireland, he believed a person did not have to be present in a jurisdiction to commit a crime there.

There was, he said, no territorial jurisdiction.

The case was adjourned until August 24 for an update from the PPS.

Belfast Telegraph


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