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Case of man accused of killing prison officer David Black could collapse

The case against a man accused of killing prison officer David Black could collapse later this week.

Damien McLaughlin, 41, from Ardboe in Co Tyrone, was arrested in Armagh last December in relation to the murder of Mr Black on November 1, 2012.

The 52-year-old prison officer was shot and killed on the M1 as he drove to work.

However, it was today ruled by a judge in Belfast Crown Court that the defendant should be acquitted as it would be both unsafe and unreliable to convict McLaughlin on the strength of the prosecution’s evidence.

The prosecution’s case relies heavily on the evidence of Co Leitrim man Stephen Brady, whose police interviews were “oppressive” and “aggressive” according to the judge.

Mr Brady had claimed it was McLaughlin who moved the Toyota Camry car, which was later used in Mr Black’s roadside shooting.

The judge said he was not satisfied with the interviews being used as evidence, that it would not be in the interests of justice, and any subsequent conviction would be “unsafe”.

The prosecution asked for time to consider the ruling with both parties due back in court on Thursday.

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