Friday 28 April 2017

Man charged in connection with David Black murder appears in High Court on foot of European Arrest Warrant

Prison officer David Black. Photo: PA
Prison officer David Black. Photo: PA

Daniel Hickey

A man charged in connection with the murder of Northern Ireland prison officer David Black has appeared at the High Court in Dublin on foot of a European Arrest Warrant.

Damien Joseph McLaughlin (40), with an address at Glenties Rd, Belfast, was arrested yesterday in County Donegal by a member of the Special Detective Unit.

Mr McLaughlin is wanted by the authorities in Northern Ireland to face allegations that he aided and abetted in the murder of David Black on November 1, 2012, and was in possession of an article suspected of being for the commission of the act of murder.

Mr Black​ (52)​ was shot dead on the M1 motorway by dissident republicans as he drove to work in Maghaberry jail.

Mr McLaughlin is also charged with engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism and of being a member of a proscribed organisation.

Detective Sergeant Padraig Boyce, of the Special Detective Unit, told counsel for the State Fiona Murphy BL today that he arrested Mr McLaughlin on Thursday in Donegal.

Damien Joseph McLaughlin, pictured being carried in a police car to an earlier hearing
Damien Joseph McLaughlin, pictured being carried in a police car to an earlier hearing

He said that he asked the accused man if he was Damien McLaughlin.

Mr McLaughlin nodded, the court heard.

The detective cautioned the man and he replied that he wanted to speak to his solicitor.

He was conveyed to Letterkenny garda station and shown a copy of the European Arrest Warrant.

The detective read over a summary of the offences and asked the accused man if he knew what they were about, the court heard, and Mr McLaughlin said that he did.

Under cross-examination, Det Sgt Boyce told David Leonard BL, for Mr McLaughlin, that the accused man was a passenger in a vehicle when arrested.

The court heard that Mr McLaughlin was dragged out of the car, and his legs were crossed and cable-tied.

Det Sgt Boyce did not agree with the barrister that Mr McLaughlin had been treated with more force than necessary.

The detective said that Mr McLoughlin is "a high-risk person" and that there was a "strong and real possibility" he had a firearm.

He was "dealt with in a prompt and appropriate fashion" and "not treated with any more force than necessary", the detective added.

Mr Leonard submitted to the court that excessive force was used and that "either disregard or insufficient weight was placed on the presumption of innocence".

In these circumstances the arrest was invalid, he said.

Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly rejected the application.

She said that Mr McLaughlin is accused of offences of terrorism.

"It is also alleged that he had been released on bail in Northern Ireland and he failed to abide by the conditions of his bail," she said.

She added that it is important gardai carry out risk assessments before arresting somebody and that she did not consider that excessive force was used or that there was a breach of the presumption of innocence

Mr McLaughlin was remanded in custody until March 20th, when his case is listed for mention again.

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