UVF double murder accused James Smyth granted bail

Gary Convie and, below, Eamon Fox
Gary Convie and, below, Eamon Fox

The alleged gunman in the double loyalist murder of two Catholic workmen 20 years ago is to be released on bail, a High Court judge ruled yesterday.

Prosecutors opposed James Smyth’s application amid claims of an ongoing campaign of intimidation against the family of a key witness.

Eamon Fox

Eamon Fox

But Mr Justice Weir decided the 48-year-old should be released after being told a co-accused is no longer in custody.

Smyth was granted bail on condition that his daughter lodges a £2,000 cash surety.

The accused is to be curfewed, electronically tagged and must report to police four times a week.

He was further banned from contacting any prosecution witnesses or their family, his co-accused, or any loyalist paramilitaries.

Smyth, from Forthriver Link, Belfast, has been charged with the murders of Gary Convie, 24, and Eamon Fox, 44,in the north of the city in May 1994.

He was detained by detectives investigating a campaign of murder and serious crime committed by the UVF.

Mr Convie and Mr Fox were shot as they sat eating lunch in a car at a North Queen Street building site.

Smyth faces further charges of attempting to murder a third man, Donal Laverty, in the same attack and possessing a Sten submachine gun and ammunition with intent to endanger life.

The court heard a lone gunman fired up to 15 shots into the victims’ Volkswagen Polo from the direction of a nearby children’s playground.