Charges brought in Northern Bank investigation

One of the five men arrested over the past 2 days in the investigation of the Northern Bank robbery has been charged in connection to the robbery, and, according to this BBC report, with falsely imprisoning a bank worker and his wife and the possession with intent of a weapon or imitation firearm. He appears to be one of the two men arrested on Tuesday in Kilcoo, arrests that were initially described by SF MLA Willie Clarke as heavy-handed and by SF MP Michelle Gildernew as part of a political stunt. 4 other men are still being questioned, including two arrested earlier today and one who was arrested yesterday. The BBC also reported that, following the arrests in Kilcoo – “The road between Castlewellan and Newry at Kilcoo was blocked by burnt out cars after protests on Wednesday night.” Update The Guardian has additional details

  • Celtic Tyger

    What’s the story here? Anyone know anything about the accused?

  • Comrade Stalin

    The story is that charges have finally been brought after 11 months or so of investigating.

    This is not the end of the story. It remains to be seen what the evidence is, or if the charges will hold any water at all. It is too early at this stage to say that the republicans have been caught out – we will need to see the evidence as well as what links these men have to the IRA before that accusation can be realistically made.

  • Celtic Tyger

    Just to clarify, I wasn’t presuming the accused was linked to the IRA.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I know you weren’t, but I think many will be quick to jump to conclusions.

  • rebel heart

    [Play the ball! – edited moderator] As the old saying goes what goes around comes around.

  • frankie

    According to a mate from work who lives in Castlewellan, he says he was not aware of him having any republican connections.

  • SlugFest

    What exactly are the media guidelines in the UK and Ireland regarding naming arrestees? I’ve noticed, much to my chagrine, that media outlets never mention the names of those arrested … in the US, they almost always do, along with the (legally necessary) tagline ‘the alleged robber’ etc. etc.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I’d wager a guess that these names are not coming from the police, but from locals.

    frankie, perhaps then these individuals might have been in need of a visit from the local CRJ. Whoever they were, someone certainly managed to get a crowd of people together, block a road and burn out a few cars over it. They obviously stick together down there.

  • I wonder what evidence they have on him?

  • Comrade Stalin

    spirit-level, agreed – that’s the kicker.


    Presumably enough to bring charges in the hope of securing a conviction.
    I’m just wondering if they had the evidence for a while and sat on it until a certain organisation had gone out of business.


    I’m thinking of opening a book on how long it takes for him to be tried and found innocent by a jury of his peers on Slugger.

  • oops an own goal TAFKABO as you’ve obviously tried him and found him guilty without knowing the evidence

  • It looks like “Stormontgate” all over again.

    Make a few arrests to take the pressure off police incompetance and then let the whole issue fizzle out after a few months.

    That seems to be what constitutes “police work” in this part of the world.

    That said we have to wait and see

  • Celtic Tyger

    Has anyone ever spoken up on behalf of the two families who were held hostage during the robbery? If not, why not?


    I have not given an opinion regarding his guilt or innocence.

    I’m happy to leave that up to the proper authorities and accept that for the purposes of any trial he shall be “presumed” innocent until proven guilty.

    The point being, that even if i did have the evidence, I still wouldn’t be in a position to make the judgement, but I rather get the impression that others are eager to garner whatever spin they mat, and take it from there.

    Which brings me back to this book.

    do I have any takers on “innocent” by noon tomorrow ?

    A straight answer, with a sense of humour.
    No own goal 😉

  • Mick O’Tick

    “I have not given an opinion regarding his guilt or innocence.”

    But you presume him to be guilty because the PSNI lifted him, yes?

  • I am quite sure I remember reading that the abductors had Belfast accents.

    Kilcoo and Tyrone are not very near to Belfast.

  • irishman


    Any chance of a link being set up about leading loyalist Mark Harbinson publicly confirming on Talkback today that he is working for the DUP?

    This man has featured in a number of threads on this site about the Orange Volunteers paramilitary group- of which local papers, like the Sunday World, have alleged him to be the leader- and has been implicated in attacks on catholic homes and properties in Stoneyford and the wider south-west Antrim area.

    Might be worthy of discussion….


    But you presume him to be guilty because the PSNI lifted him, yes?


    No, I presume that they think they have enough to bring charges in the hope of securing a conviction.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I’m with TAFKABO on this one for a change.

    I believe that the IRA did the robbery, but not to the extent that I want to see anyone fitted up for it. This case had better be water-tight; we can’t afford to have another sham as we did with the Stormontgate scenario. The PSNI better be right about this, or there will be hell to pay.

  • Comrade Stalin

    By the way, decisions over whether or not to prosecute have, since June, been made not by the PSNI but by the Northern Ireland Public Prosecution Service.

    Does anyone have any insight into exactly how this works ? Does this mean that the PSNI have handed a file to the PPS which has provided the basis to proceed with a prosecution ? Or has the PPS role not come into play yet ?

  • Belfast Gonzo

    From what I can tell, the evidence is supposed to be DNA and the IRA connection is that the former OC of East Tyrone was lifted.

    Anyway, Irishman that is very interesting what you say about Mark Harbinson.

  • Henry94


    The presumption of innocence applies her. We have no information on the basis of this charge. In previous high-profile cases the media were briefed that evedience existed but when it came to court nothing was produced.

    It would not surprise me if the purpose of all this was to get the cops over the first anniversary of the raid.

    So I’ll take a sporting bet with you. £50 to a charity of your choice if the man charged this morning is convicted. £50 to a charity of my choice if he is not. Deal?



    The presumption of innocence applies only in a trial.I am not bound to believe anything other than what I decide to believe, based upon any evidence I see or hear.

    And yeah, the bet sounds fine.

  • J Kelly

    Stalin you say there will be hell to pay if the PSNI get this wrong, who will hold them to account. Not the toothless tigers on the policing board. The PSNI can and do operate political policing with impunity.

  • Bollix

    Obviously the defendant is innocent until proven guilty.
    I have two things to note about the SF response to the arrests. Firstly, it does give rise to an inference that the ‘RA are involved in it otherwise why would SF be so quick to start complaining. (on the same point, is the ‘community response’ / rioting purely a reaction to the police arresting an ordinary civilian, or is it more likely to have been influenced / led by connections between the arrests and the ‘RA).

    Secondly, I tire of the constant complaint of the police being “heavy-handed”. Of course, i know that the police can be heavy handed on occasion, but wheeling this out as an excuse every time tends to diliute the force of argument when the police have genuinely been over the top. It is also the flimsy excuse used by those without any substantial arguments to make – a la orange rioters in belfast over the summer.

    I do hope that someone gets convicted for the robbery. I really hope that there is no proven IRA connection, as this would really help to screw up the peace process.

  • Mick O’Tick

    “One of the five was released without charge last night, while another is believed to be a senior figure in the republican movement of east Tyrone.”

    It is this line of inquiry, where they will try and make their case.

  • Bogexile


    As a lawyer, i am often asked on what basis do the PSNI arrest people. Is there a process? The answer is simple:

    STEP 1: PSNI Crime Ops branch alerted to arrest in pub by pager from Sinn Fein publicity department.

    STEP 2: Local CRJ contacted to see if this thing can’t be sorted out by ‘black and decker’ sanction

    IF NO:

    STEP 3: PSNI Human rights committee meets 37 times mainly in Tanzania with several hundred oversight commissioners to see whether arrests would even remotely inconvenience anybody at all.

    STEP 4: Someone who used to be in RUC who remained in PSNI by administrative oversight mentions ‘upholding rule of law.’

    STEP 5: General hilarity. RUC 5th columnist seconded to Siberian Traffic Branch for 50 years

    STEP 6: Police lawyers ring crime branch and says OK to arrest somebody abitrary for bank robbery as long as CS spray and AE rounds are used simultaneously against some Protestant spieds by way of media balance.

    STEP 7: DPP gives approval for anything with condition that his approval was not sought.

    STEP 8: Investigation contracted out to central bagdhad crime squad by PFI.


    Is anyone else having problems with the board?

    I make a post and then I can’t see anymore new posts after that.

  • Mick O’Tick

    “I really hope that there is no proven IRA connection, as this would really help to screw up the peace process.”

    Um, in what particular way?

  • Fraggle

    Anyone able to explain how some of the stolen money ended up in the police recreation centre? That bit always confused me.

  • rebel heart

    frankie i think your mates arent to well informed did his mother not say they come from a strong republican family. What was all the burning of the cars about if this was not the case.

  • rebel heart

    his cousin aine mc evoy also stood unsuccessfully in the elections for sinn fein gets more scarey by the minute. what really is happening ?

  • billy

    So Mark Harbinson has officially joined the DUP and Gary Blair (uvf-lvf) is also a spokesperson for the DUP.

    Is there now the possibility of the DUP opening contact about the decommisioning of their paramilitary weapons ??

    They can keep the purple berets , its the AK47’S that need to be put beyond use.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Not the toothless tigers on the policing board.

    The Police Board is not supposed to have teeth. Why do you expect that it should ? The Police Board is there to ensure that the police explain their actions in public. It allows our political parties – those who choose to take part of course – to cross-examine the police on their decisions. It can establish enquiries where necessary. It cannot dictate to the police how they do their jobs. It cannot impose disciplinary or other action on the police.

    If misconduct is suspected, it’s the Police Ombudsman’s job to investigate this. The Police Ombudsman has plenty of teeth, and has brought several court cases and successfully prosecuted several people over police misconduct.

    I wish people would do their research properly on the respective roles of the Police Board and the Police Ombudsman, and not just regurgitate chuckie propaganda.

    The PSNI can and do operate political policing with impunity.

    Firstly the police cannot operate with impunity. For each move they make, the police are aware that they may have to explain their actions to the police board. If it is established that they behaved improperly, then the Police Ombudsman can and DOES take action against this.

    It depends what you mean by “improper behaviour”. Where there are reasonable grounds, it is not improper to arrest and detain people suspected of criminal activity. Let’s talk about “reasonable grounds”. The IRA is or was up to it’s neck in organized crime. The same is true of loyalists and unionists of course – note the arrest of that UUP candidate in East Belfast around the time of the elections.

    It’s patently unsurprising therefore, that people who associate with criminal organizations, whether they are elected representatives or not, can expect to be harrassed by the police. Maybe if those people had decided not to embark on a career alongside those who rob banks, racketeer businesses and kneecap people, they might not find themselves at the receiving end of the police jackboot.

  • Conor

    apparantly they found the suspects hat in the garden of the hostages house. sounds strange to me, how long did they have to wait to get the DNA tests back? 11 months? or was the hat lying in the garden all that time?

  • Comrade Stalin

    A further arrest today, bringing the total number arrested so far to 6. The individual arrested is a 22-year-old from Kilcoo.