“there were no circumstances in which I could properly convict”

Given the machinations of both the British and Irish governments over the UDA in recent times the apparent flexing of the judiciary’s independence muscle, in a to-be-replaced Diplock [non-jury] court, is probably worth paying attention to. On Tuesday Mr Justice McLaughlin ruled that “[He] could not properly convict the accused of the murder of Alan McCullough”, which has been attributed to the UDA, and added “In addition the prosecution case is highly deficient in establishing that the defendant was part of a common design to kill the deceased.” Following consultation with the DPP the prosecutor appealed and today, while refusing the application, Mr Justice McLaughlin accepted that the prosecution was free to put its case before the three Appeal Court judges.
From today’s BBC report

As Mr Courtney was freed on his own bail of £100 on Thursday, the judge said he had been thrust into a difficult position after ruling that the evidence was not strong enough to convict him.

“I have made it clear that the ruling I gave two days ago was not intended to be a detailed analysis of all the evidence,” he said.

“It purports to be nothing more than an analysis of certain portions of evidence which, in my opinion, left such gaps in the prosecution case that I had to come to the conclusion there were no circumstances in which I could properly convict.

“The prosecution now invites me to allow them to appeal that conclusion.

“It seems to me there’s something of a conflict between me having reached that decision and now saying there is no arguable case to grant leave.

“I’m not very happy that the prosecution has established the basis upon which it should be given leave (to appeal).”

  • Why wasn’t John Reid called as a witness. After all he met Mo in his role as an official UDA spokesman in 2002 along with Adair and Shoukri.
    The same Mo who was one of the UDA’s official reps on Peter Taylor’s excellent Loyalists documentary. Did he not talk about being involved in UDA operations on the show?

  • Why not call Martin McAleese to the witness box?

  • Dr Strangelove

    What the **** are the PSNI and the DPP playing at ? If this bastard was involved in the murder then he should have been nailed, if he wasn’t then why waste all that money on persuing a prosecution ?

    It all smacks of ineptitude.

  • ian

    It’d be interesting to see which way Courtney goes if he’s released.

    He was very matey with Ihab Shoukri (now aligned with SE Antrim) shortly before Alan McCullough’s disappearance – they jointly painted over murals of Adair on the Lower Shankill.

    It was widely assumed at the time, that McCullough was murdered because he had been responsible for the killing of SE Antrim Brigadier John Gregg as he had been ‘head of military operations’ of C Comp.

    But McCullough only took on that role at a very late stage, shortly before the rest of the UDA routed C Comp from the Lower Shankill.

    Exiles from C Comp claim in Henry McDonald’s book ‘Mad Dog’ that McCullough was actually killed to cloud the fact that Mo Courtney was ‘head of military operations’ of C Comp at the time of Gregg’s killing.

    Therefore, could Courtney have burnt his bridges with all three factions? i.e the mainstream UDA, SE Antrim Brigade and the C Comp exiles.

    He abandoned C Comp at the last minute just before they were ousted, SE Antrim won’t want to associate with him if he’s implicated in the killing of their ex-Brigadier, and the mainstream UDA won’t forget the major role he played along with Adair in starting the feud with the UVF on the Shankill (there’s TV footage of him leading up the mob of knuckleheads shortly before they opened fire on the Rex Bar), which led to deaths of UDA members in North Antrim and other areas outside his ‘patch’ at the time.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    “If this bastard was involved in the murder”
    Posted by Dr Strangelove on Dec 01, 2006 @ 09:46 AM

    Play the ball not the man…
    Mo Courteney is a dedicated loyalist – his enemies are violent republicans, not innocent Roman Catholics or other “Prods” in this case…