28 October 2004 Edition

Resize: A A A Print

Shoukri still on the streets

North Belfast UDA kingpin Ihab Shoukri was detained by the PSNI for ten minutes at Belfast High Court last Thursday 21 October, as he appeared to seek changes to his bail conditions.

It was the second time in 24 hours that the loyalist was held by the PSNI. On Wednesday 20 October Shoukri was arrested in Bangor, County Down, and brought to Antrim PSNI barracks, where he was quizzed about 'terrorist offences'.

William 'Bonzer' Borland, said to be the UDA boss in North Belfast, was arrested in his Belfast home and also questioned. Both men were released unconditionally on Wednesday night.

The following day, as 30-year-old Shoukri was appearing in court to apply for changes in his bail conditions, eight uniformed PSNI members arrested him for an alleged breach of his bail conditions, which forbid him to associate with anyone convicted of a terrorist offence.

It later transpired that the PSNI wrongly indentified one of Shoukri's cohorts and allowed the loyalist to go free.

Just last month, as he appeared at Belfast High Court, Shoukri was also in danger of having his bail revoked over a breach of his conditions.

A Belfast judge questioned why Shoukri, from Alliance Road in North Belfast, had not been arrested by the PSNI after he breached his conditions of bail by coming into Belfast, which he was ordered not to do.

At the time, Davd Hopley, prosecuting barrister, said the PSNI had decided not to ask for Shoukri's bail to be revoked and the loyalist to be taken into custody, saying, "there are certain things I am not at liberty to go into at the moment".

At the time, Sinn Féin questioned the PSNI and the judiciary's attitude to the leading loyalist, saying his release was "another example of the Six-County judiciary wearing kid gloves when dealing with loyalism".

Shoukri has been on bail since last December on a charge of UFF membership.

He was originally charged with the killing of 21-year-old Alan McCullough, an associate of UDA thug Johnny Adair, but the charge was dropped due to a lack of forensic evidence.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1