November hearing for loyalist supergrass Gary Haggarty

The High Court in Belfast.
The High Court in Belfast.

A so-called loyalist supergrass will discover next month if he is to stand trial for a catalogue of murders and paramilitary crime.

Proceedings to establish if Gary Haggarty has a case to answer on more than 200 charges have been listed for a three-day court hearing in Belfast.

Lawyers for the suspected Ulster Volunteer Force commander-turned police informer are expected to challenge to propriety of prosecuting him for some of the alleged offences.

Haggarty, 44, has been waiting to discover if he will stand trial since signing an agreement to become an assisting offender under the terms of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act (SOCPA) back in 2010.

Last month it emerged that three charges relating to the possession of explosives and firearms are to be dropped.

But the north Belfast man still faces 209 counts covering a 16-year period between 1991 and 2007.

The prosecution case against him runs to 12,000 pages, with his alleged offences including:

:: Five murders, 31 conspiracy to murder and six attempted murders.

:: Four kidnappings, six false imprisonment and five hijacking.

:: Twelve possessing explosives with intent to endanger life and 47 counts of having a firearm with intent.

:: Eighteen charges of wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

:: Three counts of arson, conspiracy to defraud and concealing the proceeds of criminal conduct.

:: Two charges each of directing terrorism and belonging to a proscribed organisation.

:: Seven counts of possessing money or property for the purposes of terrorism.

Haggarty, whose address is listed as c/o the PSNI, is believed to be living at a secret location in England.

He was not present for the latest stage in an ongoing court review of the case at Belfast Magistrates’ Court today.

Senior Crown Counsel indicated that three days would be required for a preliminary enquiry to test the strength of the evidence.

Defence lawyers are to provide written submissions in advance, setting out any grounds for claiming charges should not be pursued.

They have previously questioned the propriety of continuing to prosecute for some alleged offences committed when Haggarty was acting as a state agent.

District Judge Fiona Bagnall confirmed the preliminary enquiry will now take place in November.