13 May 2005


Murder charge loyalist given bail

A leading Belfast loyalist who is awaiting trial for murder is to be freed on bail.

William 'Mo' Courtney, of Fernhill Heights in the Shankill area, was to have gone on trial on Monday accused of murdering 21-year-old Alan McCullough.

His body was found on the outskirts of Belfast on 5 June 2003.

However, because of prosecution delays, the judge at Belfast Crown Court said he could not justify keeping the accused in jail any longer.

Mr Courtney has been given one week to lodge a bail surety of £5,000 and also to provide an address outside Belfast.

Mr Justice Hart told the court that the primary reason for the delay in the trial, "was simply because the prosecution" had served evidence against Mr Courtney on his defence at a late stage.

He also said it was still not certain that the trial could be listed for hearing at the beginning of the new Crown Court term in September, adding that the case was unlikely to be heard until at least October.

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