19 March 2009 Edition

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Loyalist PSNI worker's case referred to Attorney General

THE case of two convicted loyalists who walked free from court despite admitting their role in the possible planning of murder has been referred to the Attorney General.
PSNI worker Aaron Hill and Darren Richardson, both members of a loyalist flute band, were found guilty of possessing information likely to be of use to terrorists. Yet, despite being convicted, both men walked free after the trial judge imposed minor sentences.
The Attorney General has been asked to reconsider the sentences imposed on the convicted men.
The convictions followed the discovery of a list of 100 car owners with the names and addresses of 62 nationalists living in the Randalstown area.
The information had been gleaned from data banks by Hill at the PSNI barracks where he worked as a computer operator and passed to Richardson. Richardson, who was also convicted of possession, only escaped a UVF membership charge because of changes in the legislation.

Meanwhile, attempts to overturn the decision to acquit six loyalists at the Court of Appeal have been abandoned.
The men were caught in paramilitary-style uniform in what appears to have been a rehearsal for a UDA show of strength. One of those involved was leading loyalist Ihab Shoukri, who admitted being a member of the UDA. Shoukri subsequently died following a suspected drug overdose.
The men were acquitted after the judge accepted that the gathering had taken place in private, despite the fact that it was in a room at The Alexander, a public bar.
An appeal against the judge’s ruling was lodged but inexplicably dropped last week.

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