Northern Ireland news

Trio facing charges linked to Dublin 'drug feud' cleared at Belfast Crown Court

Laganside Court in Belfast

THREE Dublin men were cleared by a Belfast jury today of involvement in a murder-bid two years ago said to have been linked to a drug feud.

James Marry (32) of no fixed abode, Craig O'Connor (27) of Clonliff Road, Dublin and 33-year-old Gary Shortall from Bellfield Court, Balbriggan were also acquitted of possessing a firearm and ammunition with intent to endanger life.

All three had denied involvement in the attempted murder of a man in the drive-by shooting in Lisburn Co Down in the early hours of July 3, 2019 in which shots fired at a block of flats, struck two apartments.

The men had been due to stand trial at Belfast Crown Court, however the jury were directed by Judge RoseAnne McCormick QC to find them "not guilty" after prosecution QC Neil Connor offered no evidence in the case.

Mr Marry was released immediately followed by O'Connor and Shortall after they were each fined for offences to which they had previously pleaded guilty, O'Connor for possessing "one or two joints of cannabis" and Shortall for driving without insurance.

He was also disqualified from driving for five years in Northern Ireland.

Following their release Judge McCormick ordered that their passports be returned to them.

No details surrounding the shooting were given during the short hearing, but previous courts were told by a detective four shots were fired at the property in the Ballynahinch Road, hitting one upstairs apararment and a ground floor flat.

A vehicle seen leaving the area at the time was followed by an unmaked police car leading to a pursuit along the M1 motorway before the Honda car was stopped in the Tamnamore Road, Dungannon.

The officer who accepted that the firearm in the attack was never recovered, however suggested the shooting may have been linked to a "drug feud in Dublin".

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