Northern Ireland news

Robbie Lawlor accused denied bail

Robbie Lawlor was shot multiple times outside a house on Etna Drive

DETECTIVES are continuing their hunt for the gunman who assassinated crime boss Robbie Lawlor, the High Court has heard.

Prosecutors stressed the probe into the Irish gangster's shooting in north Belfast is ongoing, despite a decision to prosecute two men for his murder.

Confirmation came as one of the accused was refused bail for a fourth time.

Patrick Teer (46) allegedly took part in events surrounding the killing on April 4, 2020.

Lawlor was killed in broad daylight outside a house at Etna Drive in the Ardoyne district by a gunman who emerged from the property and opened fire.

The 36-year-old's murder is believed to be connected to a deadly drugs dispute among organised crime gangs with connections to Drogheda, Dublin, Sligo and beyond Ireland.

Teer, of Thornberry Hill in Belfast is not suspected of shooting Lawlor.

Instead, he has been charged with murder as part of a joint enterprise, based on his alleged involvement in the wider plot.

According to the prosecution the plan to lure Lawlor to his death was devised nearly three weeks earlier.

As Teer mounted a renewed application to be released, a Crown lawyer confirmed a decision has been taken to prosecute him for the offences of murder, conspiracy to murder, and possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life.

But indications given to a previous court that the probe has now ended were wrong, counsel added.

She said: "There are still a number of other individuals who are being sought.

With the prosecution case against Teer based on CCTV recordings, vehicle registration evidence and complex telephone data, defence lawyers argued that he should be granted bail due to anticipated delay.

Frank O'Donoghue QC predicted: "Any trial is not going to get on until 2023 at the earliest, by which stage my client will have spent two years in custody."

The impact on Teer's family from his continued detention was cited as a further reason why he should be released.

Denying bail, however, Lady Chief Justice Siobhan Keegan ruled: "I'm not satisfied there is a valid change of circumstances."

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