15 February 2006

Lengthy wait before Northern Bank heist trial begins

Belfast Telegraph

Two years before pair face judge: court told

15 February 2006

Two men accused of the £26m Northern Bank robbery are unlikely to stand trial for two years, Belfast Magistrates Court heard today.

The claim was made by a solicitor for Christopher Ward and Dominic McEvoy when they appeared on remand.

Ward (24), a Northern Bank employee, from Colinmill, Poleglass, west Belfast, and McEvoy (22), a builder, from Mulandra Park, Kilcoo, Co Down, are on High Court bail.

They are charged with armed robbery at the bank's headquarters at Donegall Square in Belfast on December 20, 2004.

McEvoy is also charged with falsely imprisoning bank official Kevin McMullan and his wife Karen are their home at Loughinisland, Co Down.

A prosecution lawyer said the defendants were on six week remand periods - two weeks longer than usual - and he asked for another six weeks because of the complexity of the case.

Defence solicitor Joe McVeigh said a longer period of up to three months would be in order.

"This case will be in the Magistrates Court for up to 18 months before there is a committal hearing to send the defendants for trial," he said.

"Longer remands would be in ease of the defendants who are subject to a variety of bail conditions which include having to report regularly to the police."

Also in the dock was Martin McAliskey, (39), a self-employed salesman, of Ballybeg Road, Coalisland, Co Tyrone, who is also on bail on a charge relating to a white Ford Transit van alleged to have been used in the record-breaking heist.

Resident Magisrate Desmond Perry remanded all three defendants for eight weeks until April 12 on continuing bail.

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