Convicted robber to stand trial for going on the run

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A convicted armed robber is to stand trial for allegedly going on the run during a temporary release from prison, a judge has ordered.

Sean Tate appeared before Belfast Magisrates’ Court charged with being unlawfully at large for a ten-day period earlier this year.

The 42-year-old, with an address at Westrock Grove in the west of the city, is serving a sentence for armed robbery and burglary offences.

In January this year he was granted compassionate, temporary release from HMP Magilligan to attend his grandmother’s funeral.

But it is alleged that he failed to return until detained again in early February.

Handcuffed and flanked by prison guards, Tate entered the dock for a preliminary enquiry into the new charge.

He declined to call witnesses or give evidence during the brief hearing.

Defence solicitor Damien Trainor did not contest prosecution submissions that his client has a prima facie case to answer.

On that basis the district judge granted an application to have Tate returned for Crown Court trial on a date to be fixed.

With no application for bail, he was taken back into custody.