Legal proceedings start against man charged with Black murder

Damien Joseph McLaughlin
Damien Joseph McLaughlin
  • Preliminary Inquiry set to last three days
  • Mr David Black shot dead on M1 near Lurgan
  • Content of witness testimony cannot be reported

Legal proceedings against the only man charged in connection with the murder of a prison officer, potentially committing him for trial, began at at a special sitting of Craigavon Magistrates Court on Monday.

Although the Preliminary Investigation is set to last three days with evidence being called by the prosecution in order to establish a Prima Facie case against alleged IRA terrorist 38-year-old Damien McLaughlin, the content of witness testimony cannot be reported in case it prejudices any future trial.

David Black

David Black

McLaughlin, from the Kilmascally Road in Dungannon, is on bail facing four charges in relation to the murder of prison officer David Black including aiding and abetting his murder, possessing an article, namely a Toyota Camry car for use in terrorism, preparing a terrorist act by starting and moving the Toyota car which the killers used in the murder and a final charge of belonging or professing to belong to a proscribed organisation, the IRA, with all the offences dated on 31 October and 1 November 2012.

Mr Black was shot dead on the M1 in County Armagh in November 2012 while on his way to work at High security Maghaberry Prison.

The 52-year-old father of two was the first prison officer in Northern Ireland to be murdered in almost 20 years.

The prosecution alleges Mr McLaughlin transported a Toyota Camry across the Irish border on the eve of the attack.

The vehicle in which the killers were travelling was later found burnt out.

Standing in the dock of the Magistrates Court on Monday McLaughlin confirmed that he had received copies of the statements and legal documents relating to the PI and that he had no legal objection to it taking place.

Last year at the same court, the PPS dropped a murder charge against 34-year-old Sean McVeigh, from Victoria street in Lurgan while a third defendant, Fiona McFadden (30), from Killough Gardens, also in Lurgan, has denied a count of perverting the course of justice by providing a false alibi to the alleged killers the day after the murder.