‘Loyalist supergrass’ facing 212 charges (UTV)

A so-called loyalist supergrass is facing a record 212 charges, including five counts of murder, six of attempted murder and 31 of conspiracy to murder, a Belfast court has heard.

Gary Haggarty, an alleged former UVF commander-turned assisting offender, is believed to be living at a secret location in England and did not appear for Monday’s brief hearing.

The preliminary enquiry was put on hold after the 42-year-old’s defence lawyers sought a two-month adjournment to study the huge amount of evidence compiled.

The court heard that around 10,000 pages of evidence had been gathered in relation to alleged offences spanning a 16-year period between 1991 and 2007.

The list of charges against Haggarty, whose address was given as c/o the PSNI, revealed the scale of the prosecution.

They include:

  • Five murders, 31 conspiracy to murder, and six attempted murders
  • Four kidnappings, six false imprisonment, and five hijacking
  • Twelve possessing explosives with intent to endanger life
  • Forty-seven counts of having a firearm with intent
  • Eighteen charges of wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm
  • Three counts of arson, conspiracy to defraud, and concealing the proceeds of criminal conduct
  • Two charges each of directing terrorism and belonging to a proscribed organisation
  • Seven counts of possessing money or property for the purposes of terrorism

District Judge Amanda Henderson was told the full papers have just been received by Haggarty’s legal representatives.

With the prosecution consenting to the application to adjourn, the case was listed for a review in December.

Further details emerged as the cases of two Belfast men charged with murdering two Catholic workmen were then mentioned.

James Smyth, 48, and Mark Campbell, 43, are jointly accused of the double killing of Gary Convie and Eamon Fox in May 1994. The victims were gunned down as they sat eating lunch in a car at a building site on Belfast’s North Queen Street.

Smyth, from Forthriver Link, and Campbell, from Canning Place, are further charged with attempting to murder a third man, Donal Laverty, in the same attack.

They were charged by detectives investigating a campaign of UVF-linked murder and serious crime.

At a previous court hearing, defence lawyers claimed the allegations are based on evidence from Haggarty.

Prosecutors stressed the size of the so-called supergrass case and sought to have Smyth and Campbell’s case put back for three months.

But a defence solicitor argued that it would be an unreasonable and unacceptable delay.

Judge Henderson listed Smyth and Campbell’s case for a further mention on Friday.


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