Northern Ireland news

Bail refused for man accused of under-car bomb attack on police officer

Sean McVeigh is due to stand on trial on suspicion of attempting to murder an off-duty police officer in June 2015

A Co Armagh man accused of planting a bomb under the car of a police officer has been refused bail by a Crown Court judge.

Sean McVeigh - who has been on remand since May 2016 - is due to stand on trial on suspicion of attempting to murder an off-duty officer in Co Derry in June 2015.

From Victoria Street in Lurgan, the 37-year-old faces an additional charge of possessing explosives - namely an under-vehicle improvised explosive device - with intent to endanger life.

A device was placed under a car parked in the driveway of the family property of a serving police officer in Eglinton near Derry city.

The accused is due to stand trial in a non-jury hearing at Belfast Crown Court in August.

Dessie Hutton, representing McVeigh, asked that his client be released on bail.

He told Judge Gordon Kerr that after the incident in Eglinton, his client was arrested in Donegal by gardaí and "interviewed in respect of the alleged offences" before being "released on report".

Mr Hutton said McVeigh was then "at liberty for a year" and during this time he was "living and working in the Republic of Ireland".

Telling the court he was arrested by the PSNI in May 2016 during a visit across the border, the lawyer said "he has been on remand ever since" and a suitable bail address has been provided.

Opposing bail, a Crown prosecutor pointed out a trial date has now been set and raised concerns of a flight risk, citing McVeigh's alleged offending as "politically motivated".

Judge Gordon Kerr said that while he accepted McVeigh has been in custody for a "considerable" period, this was not a case where there was no prospect of setting a trial date.

The application for bail was refused and McVeigh was remanded back into custody.

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