Dublin charge over Black murder


A 44-year-old man has appeared before the Special Criminal Court in Dublin this afternoon charged in connection with the murder last month of Northern Ireland prison officer David Black.

Vincent Banks, of Smithfield Gate Apartments, Smithfield, Dublin 7, is charged with membership of an unlawful organisation styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Óglaigh na hÉireann, otherwise the IRA on December 18th, 2012.

He is also charged with withholding information in relation to the murder of David Black.

The charge states that the accused, between October 10th and December 20th inclusive, within the State, being a person who had information  which he knew or believed might be of material assistance in securing the apprehension, prosecution or conviction of another person for a serious offence, namely the murder of David Black, did fail without reasonable excuse to disclose the information as soon as was practicable to gardaí.

Father-of-two David Black (52), who worked at the high security Maghaberry prison in Co Antrim, was shot dead as he drove to work on a motorway near Lurgan in Co Armagh on November 1st last.

Dissident republicans claimed responsibility.

Det Sgt Marilyn Brosnan, of the Special Detective Unit, told State Solicitor Michael O’Donovan she formally arrested the accused shortly after 11am today in the reception area of Ballymun Garda station.

She said that she explained to Mr Banks the reason for his arrest in ordinary language, and that the accused replied "not at this time" to the caution.

Det Sgt Brosnan told Mr O’Donovan that at the time of the arrest she believed that Mr Banks had committed the offences for which he was arrested.

She said that she again met Mr Banks in the confines of the Criminal Courts of Justice complex this afternoon, read over the charge and informed him he was to be brought before a sitting of the non-jury Special Criminal Court.

Det Sgt Brosnan said Mr Banks, who appeared before the court wearing a blue-striped white polo shirt and jeans, said "I don’t believe so" in reply to the charge.

There was no application for bail. However, counsel for the accused man, Siobhán Ní Chulachain BL, told the court it was anticipated one would be made.

Presiding judge Mr Justice Paul Butler, sitting with Judge Margaret Heneghan and Judge William Hamill, remanded the accused man in custody to appear before the non-jury court tomorrow.