Londonderry murder trial judgment reserved

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Judgment in the trial of the 60-year-old Londonderry man accused of “executing” Barry McCrory has been reserved by trial judge Mr Justice Horner, following final oral submissions in the non-jury Diplock case.

The Belfast Crown Court judge said he hoped to give his decision in the trial of Kieran Edward Joseph McLaughlin “as soon as possible” after having reviewed all evidence and submissions in the case.

McLaughlin of Elaghmore Park, Galliagh, who declined to give, or call evidence on his own behalf, denies murdering Mr McCrory on the morning of October 10, 2013 in a block of flats in Shipquay Street, Londonderry.

He further denies possessing a sawn-off, 12-bore double barrelled shotgun, and cartridges, a Mauser self-pistol and ammunition with intent, and possessing an imitation Walther pistol between October 9 and October 17, 2013.

However, he has admitted having the shotgun, pistol and ammunition in suspicious circumstances.

In their closing submissions on Thursday the prosecution claimed there was a “multiple strand circumstantial case” against McLaughlin which “cries out for explanation”, but for which he had no credible answer capable of standing up to scrutiny. They also said his refusal to give evidence “is a pointer to his guilt”.

However, the defence argued that it “would be a bridge too far” for the court to draw such adverse and negative inferences over the refusal by McLaughlin, a man accepted to be suffering from mental health issues. The defence also contended that despite prosecution claims of a circumstantial case, they had ignored the evidence of two key witnesses who failed to identify McLaughlin as the gunman.