Possible extradition for man wanted over murder of David Black

Dissident republican Damien McLaughlin (41) on the run from bail address in Belfast

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

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

 

A suspected dissident republican will hear next month whether he is to be extradited to Northern Ireland in connection with the murder of prison officer David Black, a court heard on Friday.

Damien McLaughlin(41), of Kilmascally Road near Ardboe, Co Tyrone, absconded from his bail address in west Belfast last November and went on the run.

He was due to stand trial in February this year charged with aiding and abetting the murder of prison officer David Black in November 2012.

He is further accused of belonging to a proscribed organisation, namely the IRA, and possessing an article, namely a Toyota Camry car, in preparation of acts of terrorism.

During a review of the case today at Belfast Crown Court, a prosecution lawyer told Mr Justice Colton: “The accused is facing extradition from Dublin to Northern Ireland.

“The matter was heard by Judge (Aileen) Donnelly. We understand the proceedings took place in Dublin on July 26th, 2017 and she will deliver her ruling on October 20th this year.’’

Mr Justice Colton agreed to adjourn the case which will be reviewed on October 27th following the Dublin extradition ruling.

McLaughlin’s disappearance only came to light in January this year at the same court when a prosecution lawyer asked for his bail to be revoked after he could not be found at his bail address in west Belfast.

The lawyer said McLaughlin failed to sign with police in November.

He said that on December 23rd last, police called to the address which he said “appears to have effectively been cleared out”.

Milk that was four weeks out of date was found in the fridge.

The court heard that when officers checked his other address in Ardboe, and those of family members, this was “of no assistance”.

The prosecutor also said that the people who provided sureties, namely Mr McLaughlin’s uncles, were also “not able to assist in locating him”.

McLaughlin’s disappearance while on bail provoked a public outcry from David Black’s family who said they “felt let down and hurt by the justice system’’.

Mr Black’s widow Yvonne, daughter Kyra and son Kyle were later visited by the PSNI officer leading the manhunt for McLaughlin, Detective Chief Supt Raymond Murray.

DCS Murray said he had visited the Black family “to offer sincere apologies on behalf of the PSNI for the stress and worry this situation is creating for them” and provided “reassurance of the steps police are taking to locate the whereabouts of Damien McLaughlin’’.

The failure by the PSNI to carry out regular bail checks on McLaughlin is currently the subject of a Police Ombudsman investigation.

Following a massive cross border manhunt, McLaughlin was eventually arrested on March 2 this year on foot of a European Arrest Warrant issued by the PSNI.

He was detained by an armed Garda response unit while walking along a street in Ramelton, Co Donegal, en route to Letterkenny.