Northern Ireland

Undertaker summoned to pipe bomb court hearing

A judge has summoned an undertaker to corroborate claims made by a man accused of a loyalist pipe bomb attack.

Raymond Burns, 32, of Ballyvessey Court, Newtownabbey, denies charges linked to an alleged bid to stop a doorman testifying about an assault.

He sought release on the basis that he had a job offer with a funeral director bidding to win a contract for the removal of bodies from hospitals.

Refusing bail, the judge warned of a potential plot to pervert justice.

Mr Burns is accused of membership of the UVF at the time, conspiracy to intimidate, possessing explosives and causing an explosion.

'Hoodwink'

Mr Justice Treacy told the High Court: "This is not the first time in which the bail court has encountered claims which turn out to be false."

He added: "If what has emerged from the police investigation is proved, it is capable of amounting to, among other things, in my view, conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

"Given the seriousness and nature of the charges this applicant faces, and the fact a serious offence may have been committed in order to hoodwink the court to grant bail to a man charged with serious terrorist offences, the risk is too (substantial)."

The case against him relates to a pipe bombing in September 2003 at the home of a club bouncer's then-girlfriend in Larne.

Cash surety

At the time, Trevor Gowdy was due to testify about an attack on him outside a Newtownabbey social club the previous year.

Four men have so far been charged in connection with the pipe bombing as part of an ongoing investigation into UVF crime in north Belfast.

A co-accused of Mr Burns was granted bail on Thursday after his father offered a £20,000 cash surety.

William Young, 41, of Silvio Street, Belfast, denies conspiracy to cause an explosion, conspiracy to intimidate a witness, and UVF membership.

He was ordered to have no contact with any co-accused or witnesses, and banned from entering Larne, parts of north Belfast and Newtownabbey.

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