Haddock trial adjourned again

Published Friday, 14 January 2011
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The trial of alleged UVF leader and Special Branch informer Mark Haddock, on charges connected to the murder of rival UDA chief Tommy English in north Belfast, has been adjourned yet again.

The trial of Haddock - and up to 13 others also facing charges - had been listed to start at the beginning of this month, but was then delayed until next month and now won't go ahead until at least May.

However, some defence lawyers told Belfast Crown Court judge Mr Justice Hart that they "can't guarantee" they will be in a position to start the trial even then and that the time-table seems "somewhat optimistic".

There is also a question mark over whether or not the trial, estimated to last at least 11 weeks, could be completed before the end of term and the onset of the summer recess.

The hold-up in the so-called 'supergrass trial', whereby self-confessed terrorist brothers Robert and David Stewart have implicated Haddock and the others, still revolves around the issue of 'disclosure' by the prosecution of certain evidential matters to the defence.

On Friday, prosecution lawyer David Russell admitted that it will take up to another four weeks for the 'disclosure' process to be completed and that it was estimated it could take the defence between four to six weeks to assimilate the information.

Mr Russell explained that there were over 300 'de-briefing interviews' involving the Stewart brothers, some of which has already been disclosed, and that defence lawyers could expect a further 2000 pages next week.

'Court's concern'

"I understand the court's concern that what I have indicated takes us beyond the start of the trial date," said Mr Russell, who also agreed that it "may not be welcome news", but added the problem arose simply because of the "sheer volume of papers and the complexities involved".

Last September Mr Russell reported that 19 police officers were working on the problems, including a HOLMES team, and that the Public Prosecution Service had already appointed a dedicated direction officer, supported by four admin staff, to the case.

None of the 14 defendants were in court to hear of the further possible delay in the case.

All of them - including Haddock and eight others who face charges of UVF membership - have been implicated in the catalogue of 41 terror offences by the Stewart brothers.

They are currently serving minimum three-year life sentences for their part in the murder of Mr English who was gunned down in his Ballyduff home on 31 October 2000, during a bloody feud between the UVF and UDA.

The two brothers have turned 'Queen's evidence' and will be testifying against their alleged former accomplices.

Haddock, and those charged with him of UVF membership, also deny the murder of Mr English.

The remaining defendants deny charges including perverting the course of justice, assisting offenders and possessing items intended for terrorism.

The nine who deny the murder, membership and offences such as wounding with intent, possessing guns and hijacking are: Mark Haddock (41) with an address at c/o Maghaberry prison; John Bond (43) from Essex Court, Carrick; Ronald Bowe (33) from Ross House in the Mount Vernon Estate; Samuel Higgins (34) from The Meadow, Antrim; Philip Laffin (33) from Bridge Street, also Antrim; Jason Loughlin (34) from Bryson Court, Newtownabbey; David Millar (38) from Upritchard Court, Bangor; Darren Moore (40) from Mount Vernon Park; and Alexander Wood (34) from Milewater Way, Newtownabbey.

The five who deny offences such as assisting offenders and perverting justice are: Newtonwabbey men William Hinds (45) from Ballycraigy Gardens; David McCrum (31) from Beechgrove Drive; David Smart (36) from Milewater Close; Mark Thompson (35) from Ballyvesey Green; and Belfast man Neil Pollock (34) from Fortwilliam Gardens.

© UTV News
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8 Comments
henry in north belfast wrote (1,185 days ago):
yea ernest maybe i should enroll in the same class as you, the great pretender,
big ernest aka the mad monk in east antrim wrote (1,185 days ago):
HENRY ; you want to head down and enroll in an adult education class and take notes before doing anything ....
sam in antrim wrote (1,187 days ago):
@henry im all for justice just not in this form it never worked in the 80/early 90's and even with the law change in 2005 i think it will not work today
henry in north belfast wrote (1,187 days ago):
@sam, now sam please dont tell me you wouldnt like people who are charged with crimes on the loyalist people get there just deserves, after all a crime is a crime is a crime, as for getting out a bit more, well i can asure you sam i get out lots, one of my hobbies is sitting in our courts and taking notes,
Derek in Belfast wrote (1,187 days ago):
Yet more victimisation of a Protestant ... trial by media will never work .. he should be released without charge and compensated for the time he has been held illegally.
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