Northern Ireland

UVF case: Stewart accused of using brother's information

Court drawing of Robert Stewart giving evidence in front of Justice John Gillen
Image caption A court drawing of Robert Stewart giving evidence in front of Justice John Gillen

UVF "supergrass" Robert Stewart has been accused of giving evidence which is merely information passed on to him by his brother.

David Ian Stewart is expected to give evidence in a week or two.

Both men have agreed to testify against 14 defendants, some of whom are accused of UVF membership and murder.

On Thursday, a defence barrister suggested Robert Stewart had no clear recollection of many events.

He accused the witness of describing them using whatever his brother had told him when they were held together in Maghaberry Prison.

Stewart denied this.

In return for taking the stand, both brothers' sentences have been reduced by 75%.

The 14 defendants are being represented by 24 barristers and eight firms of solicitors and the trial is expected to last for 11 weeks.

Nine of those on trial are accused of the murder of Tommy English, a senior member of the loyalist group the UDA who was shot dead in front of his family in October 2000 during a feud between that organisation and the UVF.

Both the UVF (Ulster Volunteer Force) and UDA (Ulster Defence Association) are loyalist paramilitary groups responsible for the murder of hundreds of people during the Troubles.

The term supergrass was first used in Northern Ireland in the 1980s when a number of terrorist suspects were convicted on the evidence of fellow paramilitaries.

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