Sean Gerard Hughes and Sinn Fein MP Conor Murphy

Mr Hughes (left) is also charged with speaking at a meeting and encouraging support for an illegal organisation

A SENIOR republican charged with offences connected to the murder of Robert McCartney must not contact any witnesses in the case, a court ordered yesterday. The prohibition was placed on Sean Hughes as part of conditions under which he was granted bail.

Hughes (51) –  nicknamed ‘The Surgeon‘, of Aghadavoyle Road, Jonesborough in South Armagh, is charged with IRA membership and addressing a meeting to encourage support for the illegal organisation. The offences, said to have been committed eight years ago, are linked to an alleged IRA internal investigation following the killing of Mr McCartney.

Mr McCartney was stabbed outside Magennis's bar in Belfast

Mr McCartney was stabbed outside Magennis’s bar in Belfast

The 33-year-old father-of-two, from Belfast’s Short Strand was stabbed to death outside a city centre bar, pictured, in 2005. His sisters and partner waged a high-profile campaign claiming the republican movement was involved in a cover up. Hughes is the second leading republican to be arrested in connection with the case. Padraic Wilson (53), from Andersontown in West Belfast, faces similar charges. During a previous court appearance a magistrate was told that the McCartney family had made fresh statements in regards to a meeting held with two men who identified themselves as members of the IRA ‘ army council ‘.

When Mr Wilson, a former leader of the IRA prisoners in the Maze, was charged last November and remanded in custody members of Sinn Fein reacted angrily.When is Political Policing Not Political Policing ?A protest was held at police headquarters in east Belfast demanding his release. The veteran republican was later released on bail. Neither man is accused of having anything to do with the murder and both deny the charges. At Belfast Magistrates Court yesterday, a Sinn Fein delegation including Newry and Armagh MP Conor Murphy was present as Hughes made his first appearance. Prosecutors revealed that bail had been agreed in the case. District Judge Mervyn Bates agreed to release the accused on certain conditions. Hughes is to stay at his bail address, report to police weekly and must not attempt to contact prosecution witnesses or complainants. A £1,000 surety is also to be lodged as part of the arrangements. Hughes is due to appeal again alongside his co-accused on March 15. Outside the court Mr Murphy hit out at the decision to charge Hughes. ” This isn’t about justice for the family of Robert McCartney or attempting to prosecute those who killed him,” he said. ” This is simply political policing. It’s a nonsense.”




  1. […] Republican Granted Bail ( […]

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