06 February 2006

'Taped' lawyer on terror charges


Two of the charges related to the murder of Jameson Lockhart

A solicitor whose meetings with clients were secretly taped by police has denied attempting to incite a murder.

Manmohan Sandhu, 41, of Colby Avenue in Londonderry, also faced four charges of perverting the course of justice.

Two of these charges related to the police inquiry into the UVF murder of Jameson Lockhart last July.

A detective chief inspector said the evidence against Mr Sandhu was solely based on recordings of conversations with clients at Antrim police station.

He told Antrim Magistrates Court these were obtained from a listening device hidden in a solicitors' consultation room at its serious crime suite.

The policeman agreed that a solicitor's meetings with clients should be confidential.

However, he added: "Given the seriousness and unusual nature of the offences, I am satisfied that the police response was proportionate, lawful and necessary."

Feud sparked

A loyalist feud was sparked by the murder of north Belfast man Jameson Lockhart, 25, who was shot as he sat in a lorry on the lower Newtownards Road in the city last July.

Mr Sandhu was accused of attempting to frustrate the police investigation into the murder.

Similarly, he was accused of attempting to frustrate the police investigation into the attempted murder of Jonathan Hillier last August.

Mr Sandhu was also charged with attempting to incite an unknown person to murder Mr Hillier.

He replied "definitely not guilty" to the charges when they were put to him.

Mr Sandhu was remanded in custody.

Meanwhile, Law Society Chief Executive John Bailie has been holding a private meeting with Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde to raise its concerns that Mr Sandhu's private conversations with his clients were bugged.

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