Northern Ireland news

Derry shooting victim due in court on drugs charges

The scene of the paramilitary-style shooting in the Creggan estate in Derry. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin
Seamus McKinney

A MAN who has been in a coma since he was shot in Derry had been due to appear in court on drugs charges.

Police believe dissident republicans were responsible for the attack on Harry Boyle (25) in the Creggan area on Monday night.

The victim suffered two gunshot wounds to his right leg at Magowan Park shortly before 9pm.

The attack followed the killing of taxi driver Michael McGibbon (33) who was shot three times in the leg in north Belfast at the weekend.

It is understood he died as a result of a severed artery.

At Derry Crown Court on Tuesday, it was revealed that Mr Boyle, of Lawrence Hill, was due to appear in connection with class A, B and C drugs.

His lawyer, Mark Reel, told the court the Derry man had been shot on Monday night and remained in a coma in Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital having first been treated at Altnagelvin.

Mr Reel said: “Those who would replace our system of justice by one of terror, violence and fear have taken it upon themselves to shoot Mr Boyle.”

The defence lawyer said no earlier application for anonymity for his client had been made as there had been no known specific threat against him.

“Unfortunately those individuals involved hadn’t flagged up their intentions. The nature of the charges he faced are not comparable to the violence meted out to him.”

Judge Philip Babington adjourned the case until May 4, saying it was “very sad” to hear of the shooting.

Derry police chief Mark McEwan described it as a brutal attack on a young man.

“This has all the hallmarks of a paramilitary-style attack. There are a number of lines of inquiry. However the investigation is focussing on violent dissident republican groupings,” Superintendent McEwan said.

He acknowledged that people might be fearful but said police needed information to progress their investigation.

“Those who are involved in paramilitary-style attacks do not represent the interests of any community or contribute anything to it. They prey on the community and have no legitimacy in dealing with perceived unlawful behaviour or misdemeanours.”

Fr Joseph Gormley said it was shocking to see blood on the streets of Creggan once again.

The attack took place at a new development built on the former St Peter's High School site.

The priest at St Mary’s Church in Creggan said such shootings would only create more pain for society.

"We've seen so many of these attacks over the years and what do they solve? Nothing. There's no justification at all."

From March last year to February this year there were 22 paramilitary-style shootings and 62 assaults across Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland news

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