Northern Ireland news

Date set for trial of woman accused of attempting to murder a policeman

Christine Connor is to stand trial in June charged with attempted murder.

A NORTH Belfast woman is to stand trial later this year on paramilitary-related offences, including a murder bid on a police officer, a court heard today.

Last December, Christine Connor (33), had her convictions quashed at the Court of Appeal in Belfast.

Senior judges ruled that guilty pleas she had made at Belfast Crown Court in May 2017 were equivocal and could not be safely regarded as representing genuine confessions.

They ordered a non-jury Diplock retrial over an alleged terrorist plot said to involve posing online as a Swedish model to lure men into supporting the bid to kill.

Connor denies the attempted murder of a PSNI officer on May 28, 2013 in Belfast.

She further denies two counts of possessing explosives with intent to endanger life, two of causing explosions with intent to endanger life and preparing acts of terrorism.

At Belfast Crown Court today, a prosecution lawyer said the trial would last for around four weeks.

However, Connor's new defence team said the trial could last longer, possibly up to eight weeks.

Potential witness statements

A defence barrister said this was because a senior counsel would have to be instructed in the case and he would have to read through the entire file.

He told Belfast Recorder Judge David McFarland that the file contained 4,000 statements, 3,000 documents and several dozen tapes.

The lawyer added that there were 550 potential witness statements and 200 witnesses in the case.

Given the large amount of material senior counsel needed to read through, the defence barrister said a trial date in the autumn would be preferred.

Judge McFarland set the trial date for Monday, June 3 this year and said he review progress in the case next month.

Connor, who was sitting in the public gallery during the hearing, was released on continuing bail.

As part of her bail, Connor is to abide by a curfew, electronic tagging and report to police three times a week.


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