07 March 2006

Judgement reserved on Shoukri bail

RTÉ

07 March 2006 13:41

The High Court in Belfast has reserved judgement on whether or not a leading loyalist, Ihab Shoukri, can be returned to prison.

This morning, counsel for Mr Shoukri said that loyalists arrested in a Belfast bar last week were planning to end all UDA crime and violence.

When heavily armed police stormed the Alexander Bar in north Belfast last Thursday, they disrupted what they claim had been a rehearsal for a show of strength by the UDA and UFF.

Yesterday, 11 men where charged in connection with the incident, although Ihab Shoukri, an alleged senior figure in the UDA who was arrested in the bar, was not one of the accused.

This morning in the Belfast High Court the PSNI Chief Constable, Hugh Orde, sought to have Mr Shoukri sent back to prison for bail violations.

During that hearing, Mr Shoukri's lawyer claimed that the loyalists arrested in the bar were meeting to plan an end to all UDA crime and violence.

Arthur Harvey QC, claimed Mr Shoukri had been downstairs in the bar when police fired 70 CS gas canisters into an upstairs room.

Mr Harvey said it was ironic that the police believed that some sort of show of strength was being planned, when in fact they were attending a meeting which was to announce the end of all UDA criminal activities.

Judgement in the case was reserved until tomorrow and Mr Shoukri was allowed to remain free on bail until then.

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