On-the-run murder accused Michael Smith re-captured

Michael Lawrence Smith
Michael Lawrence Smith

A prisoner accused of murder who was mistakenly released from Maghaberry has now been re-captured.

West Belfast man Michael Lawrence Smith, 38, was facing a litany of charges when he walked free from the high-security jail earlier this month.

Late on Wednesday, the PSNI announced that he had been found in Carryduff, to the south-east of Belfast.

Just days ago, the News Letter had asked whether a European Arrest Warrant (allowing easy extradition of suspects from the Republic of Ireland or elsewhere in the EU) was in force for Smith.

The PSNI said no, but added the idea would be “kept under review”.

In a statement on Monday, they had said: “We are following all lines of enquiry and all options available to us will be considered at the appropriate time in the investigation.”

Announcing his recapture on Wednesday, they gave no other details, but thanked the public for “all their assistance during this time”.

His “erroneous release” happened on March 7.

It is believed he was last seen in Finaghy, south Belfast, that day.

Very shortly before his accidental release, he had unsuccessfully applied for bail.

He was charged with the murder of Stephen Carson, who was shot dead in his south Belfast house in February 2016, and other lesser offences.

DUP Westminster justice spokesman Gavin Robinson had described his release at the time as “catastrophic”.