A SENIOR judge today warned relatives of murder victims that he would have them removed from court after several outbursts from a packed public gallery.
Mr Justice Treacy sounded the warning after several incidents occurred at Belfast Crown Court today while a number of defendants appeared to face arraingment hearings on murder charges.
In the dock today was Orhan Koca, 33, of no fixed abode, who is accused of murdering talented boxer Eamonn Magee jnr in May last year.
The 22-year-old was found in the garden of a house in the Summerhill Park area of Twinbrook, west Belfast with a number of fatal stab wounds.
As the charge of murder was put to him, Koca, who was dressed in an open white shirt and blue jeans, replied in a loud voice: “Not guilty’’.
It was at this point people who were sitting behind Koca started to hurl abuse at him from the public gallery, shouting: “You scumbag bastard. You murdered an innocent child.’’
A number of women were crying and had to be comforted by relatives.
Security guards entered the public gallery along with a number of police officers to restore calm.
Mr Justice Treacy fixed the date of the trial, which is expected to last three weeks, for Monday, June 6.
Also appearing in the dock of the same court today was Albert Armstrong (47), of Gray’s Park in Belfast.
He pleaded not guilty to the murders of Colin ‘Bap’ Lindsay and Stanley Wightman at a house on the Belvoir estate in July last year.
As shouts of “murdering bastard’’ were heard from the public gallery, Mr Justice Treacy warned: “I will have people removed from this court if there any more outburts.’’
A defence barrister told the court that the case could hinge on “diminished responsibility’’ and a number medical experts were being engaged on his mental well being.
He added that Armstrong was waiting on a hospital appointment for an MRI scan but no date had been given for his attendance.
The judge fixed a date for the trial of June 13 and is expected to last two weeks.
As Armstrong was led from the dock in handcuffs, a woman shouted at him from the public gallery: “Rot in your cell.’’