15 March 2006

PSNI accused of Shoukri 'set up'


Leading loyalist Andre Shoukri was applying for bail

The police have been accused of setting up leading loyalist Andre Shoukri for assasination by leaking details of his alleged massive gambling habit.

The claim was made by a lawyer for 28-year-old Shoukri when he applied for bail on charges of blackmail, intimidation and money laundering.

A Crown lawyer said Shoukri had gambled £863,000 in a north Belfast bookmakers between April 2003 and last August.

The bail application in the High Court was adjourned.

This was so the defence can be given transcripts of police interviews with Shoukri before he was charged last November.

However, Lord Justice Nicholson said: "I may say that from what I have been told the chances of this man getting bail are not high."

Shoukri's lawyer said the leaking by police of the alleged gambling figure was calculated to deny his client the beginnings of a fair trial and ear-mark him as a potential candidate for assassination.

Earlier, the Crown alleged that Shoukri, who has been in custody since last November, was receiving £200 a week for allowing a bar on the Cavehill Road to remain open.

It was allegeded he was also getting between £300 and £400 a week from the bar's gaming machines.

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