Bail scandal: I trust the Lord Chief Justice will apologise, says Jim Allister

The Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan. Jim Allister QC MLA has written to him about the bail scandal. 
Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

The Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan. Jim Allister QC MLA has written to him about the bail scandal. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Jim Allister QC on Thursday sent this letter to the Lord Chief Justice, Sir Declan Morgan, about the man who has gone missing ahead of his trial for dissident terror charges. Mr Allister also copied the letter to the media

Dear Chief Justice,

Re: Damien Joseph McLaughlin

I write to express my dismay at the situation which has evolved in respect of the above accused, particularly the role of our Bail Courts in same.

It is reported that by a series of bail term variations key conditions were removed to the point that the accused found it easy to abscond.

What review are you conducting into the handling of this case and the court’s contribution to the distressing outcome for the Black family, and what lessons have been learned?

I trust you will write appropriately to the Black family and, like the PSNI, apologise for this bungled situation.

Jim Allister MLA, TUV leader, Sormont

• THE NEWS LETTER HAS LED THE WAY IN REPORTING THIS SCANDAL. A FULL LIST OF LINKS TO OUR STORIES BELOW:

Jan 12: Top detective calls on justice system to ‘reflect’

Jan 12: Probe begins into PSNI

Jan 12: Late and little - DoJ respond to News Letter

Jan 12: Police waited 11 days after house search to act

Jan 12: PPS did not object to ‘unbelievably laughable’ sureties

Jan 12: DOJ started bail decisions review in October

Jan 11: Timeline of a fiasco

Jan 11: DoJ silent over what it is doing – if anything

Jan 11: Despite police apology these questions remain

Jan 10: PSNI finally apologise to David Black’s family

Jan 10: We must review matters urgently says Black son

Jan 10: PSNI finally break silence over suspect’s disappearance

Jan 10: Policing Board man ‘appalled’ by terror suspect’s disappearance

Jan 10: Sureties were eight times lower than family suggested

Jan 9: Morning View – A terror accused goes missing and police have nothing to say

Jan 7: Ben Lowry – No other country in the West would treat terror charges as lightly as Northern Ireland does

Jan 7: Disappearance of David Black suspect ‘utterly outrageous’

Jan 7 Morning View: Courts must urgently explain lenient bail policy for terror cases

Jan 6: David Black accused ‘not seen by police since November’