Move to get charges thrown out in PSNI murder bid case

A man accused of trying to murder a PSNI officer is to mount a legal bid to have the case thrown out, it has emerged.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 9th June 2020, 3:13 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th June 2020, 3:41 pm
The scene at Shandon Park Golf Club following the incident last year
The scene at Shandon Park Golf Club following the incident last year

Peter Granaghan, 39, faces charges linked to a bomb found under the off-duty policeman’s car at a golf club in east Belfast 12 months ago.

He was expected to be returned for trial following a procedural hearing at Belfast Magistrates’ Court.

But defence lawyers instead revealed plans to mount an early challenge to the strength of the prosecution evidence.

District Judge Fiona Bagnall adjourned proceedings to next month, when that inquiry will be listed.

Outside court defence solicitor Darragh Mackin, of Phoenix Law, confirmed: “We are instructed to seek a preliminary investigation, as it is our client’s contention that there is no case to answer.”

Granaghan, of Blackrock Park in Belleek, Co Fermanagh, is currently in custody charged with attempted murder.

He also faces charges of making and possessing explosives with intent to endanger life.

He denies involvement in the thwarted attack for which terror grouping the New IRA claimed responsibility.

The off-duty officer discovered the booby trap bomb below his car while it was parked at Shandon Park Golf Cub on June 1 last year.

He had just finished a round of golf and was walking back to the vehicle when he spotted something underneath it.

Army technicians carried out a controlled explosion at the scene to disrupt the device and seize items for forensic examination.

In its claim of responsibility, the New IRA later stated that the bomb would have exploded if it had travelled over uneven terrain.

The organisation warned: “We were unlucky this time, but we only have to be unlucky once.”

Granaghan is allegedly linked by partial DNA profiles on components of the bomb.

At a previous hearing prosecution lawyers claimed the evidence connects him to making the device.

Searches at the accused’s home led to the discovery of republican material which “shows a certain mindset”, it was contended.

But defence lawyers insisted any forensic traces on wires and battery connectors can be explained by innocent contact during past work as an electrician and handyman.

The DNA is the only evidence against Granaghan, they argued.

Those submissions will now come under further judicial scrutiny once the preliminary inquiry gets under way.