21 January 2006

Bail is granted to leading loyalist

Daily Ireland

By Ciarán Barnes


A leading north Belfast loyalist was bailed yesterday despite PSNI chiefs warning his return to the streets could spark violence.
As part of his £5,000 (€7,290) bail conditions Mark Haddock, who is charged with attempting to murder pub doorman Trevor Gowdy, has been barred from entering the council areas of Belfast, Newtownabbey, Carrick, Larne, Ards, North Down and Lisburn.
He is to reside at a secret address, has to surrender his expired passport, report twice daily to police, observe a 7pm curfew and an alcohol ban.
Opposing bail in Belfast’s Crown Court, PSNI Detective Inspector James Templeton predicted the loyalist would “instigate or be the victim of violence” if released.
Mr Templeton said the PSNI’s Assistant Chief Constable, Sam Kinkaid shared this view, revealing he had spoken with him by telephone about the loyalist on Thursday.
Despite these concerns Judge Anthony Hart agreed to Mr Haddock’s bail, based mainly on the fact that the accused has been remanded in custody on the charges since August 2003.
Until his release yesterday the 36-year-old had currently been the longest-serving remand prisoner in the North.
His return to the streets sparked immediate fears of a fresh outbreak of internal loyalist feuding.
Up until his jailing in August 2003, Mark Haddock was one of the most high-profile loyalists in the Mount Vernon area of north Belfast – an Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) stronghold.
During his time in prison the north Belfast man has been plagued by rumours that he is a PSNI informer.
The informer claims have led to speculation that he could targeted for murder.
During his time in prison he received a number of death threats and spent months in isolation for his own protection.
The attempted murder charges Haddock faces relate to an attack on former boxing champion Trevor Gowdy outside a social club on the outskirts of north Belfast in December 2002.
Mr Gowdy was beaten with cudgels and stabbed repeatedly and left for dead.
Traces of Haddock’s blood were found at the scene. Defence lawyers claimed the accused had found Mr Gowdy outside the club and was trying to help him.
His trial began last November but was adjourned after Mr Gowdy was deemed emotionally unfit to give evidence.
Currently undergoing psychiatric treatment, Mr Gowdy is expected to be fit to return to the witness box in May.
In court yesterday Mark Haddock’s legal team revealed that when the trial resumes they will seek leave to have the prosecution stayed.
Darren Moore, a close friend of the accused, who was also charged with attempting to murder Mr Gowdy, successfully applied to have the prosecution case against him stayed.

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