31 July 1997 Edition

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Duffy refused bail again

The credibility of the witness who is at the centre of the RUC prosecution case against Lurgan man Collie Duffy (29), of Drumnamoe Gardens was challenged at a Belfast High Court bail hearing on 29 July.

The Lurgan man is charged with killing two RUC men in the town in June, denies the charges, but was denied bail for the second time in three weeks, despite the massive weight of alibi statements given to the RUC in his defence.

The crown case against Duffy rests primarily on the witness statement from a Lurgan woman, known as Witness D, now in RUC custody. Described as an unreliable woman of ``limited and low intellectual capacity'', her credibility has been severely questioned.

The woman had accused her own father of abducting her child, when in fact social services had placed it in care because of the woman's drinking habits and neglect of the child and a member of her family was prepared to testify on Tuesday to her unreliability.

In contrast Duffy's defence rests on witnesses who will testify that Duffy was near his home and nowhere near the scene of the killings in Lurgan.

Both the Committee for the Administration of Justice and Duffy's solicitor, Rosemary Nelson, criticised the RUC investigation for failing to follow up the material supplied by Duffy's defence.

Nelson again emphasised that the RUC possess at least a dozen alibi statements, and RUC video tape evidence which would confirm events as relayed by witnesses who have stressed that Witness D could not have been at the scene of the murders.

Duffy, a father of one, has already spent three and a half years in prison for the murder of UDR member John Lyness in 1993 before the appeal court overturned his conviction nine months ago

Meanwhile a pregnant woman who supplied a statement on Duffy's behalf has criticised the RUC for ruining her holidays, and causing her a great degree of shock when they followed her and her family to Ayr. The woman made a statement to a solicitor in which she placed Colin Duffy almost a mile away from the scene at the time of the RUC deaths. The woman, expecting her third child in August, was subjected to a tremendous strain, and has described the rest of her stay as one where she felt like a criminal, with other camp residents being fully aware of the RUC's intimidating behaviour.

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