News

Black accused guilty of dissident offences

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

AN ARDBOE man who is on-the-run over charges related to the murder of Cookstown Prison Officer David Black served a jail sentence for a serious dissident offence.

Damien Joseph McLaughlin, was imprisoned in May 2011 for major weapons offences, including possessing articles for use in terrorism, but was released before the year's end.

Mr Black was shot dead as he travelled to work in November 2012.

Currently, McLaughlin stands accused of aiding and abetting the murder of David Black with his trial due to take place soon. However, he has not been seen since November.

The fact he was granted bail in this case is a "scandalous" indictment of the Province's justice system, a spokesman for the Troubles campaign group Innocent Victims United has claimed.

"The charges for which Mr McLaughlin was found guilty of were very serious," said Kenny Donaldson.

"For a court to hand him down a sentence for four years and six months, with 50 per cent freedom on license in-built, is nothing short of scandalous.

"Until the criminal justice system is transformed to a system which is victim-centred, we and others will continue to demand an overhaul.

"In matters concerning terrorism, Northern Ireland's criminal justice system is perpetrator-centric and that is the scandal that our organisation and membership are focused upon this side of an election and the other side of an election."

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