Belfast Telegraph

Concern as Shoukri breaks bail terms

By Staff Reporter
23 September 2004

A High Court judge today expressed concern that leading loyalist Ihab Shoukri was not arrested by police after breaching a condition of his bail to stay out of Belfast.

Shoukri (30), from Alliance Road, north Belfast, has been out on bail since last December on charges of a loyalist feud murder and membership of the UFF.

The murder charge was dropped last month.

And today the Crown was due to apply to have Shoukri's bail revoked after he was seen by police in Belfast last week in breach of his bail.

But Crown lawyer, David Hopley, said his instructions were not to proceed with the revocation application.

Mr Justice Coghlin asked why and was told by Mr Hopley: "I have not spoken to the police officer so I cannot tell you."

Asked by the judge why Shoukri had not been arrested as new legislation demanded, Mr Hopley said: "There are certain things I am not at liberty to go into at the moment."

Mr Justice Coghlin said he did not think it right to interrogate counsel, but added: "I am left with a residual concern about this matter. This is a public court."

Shoukri, who was in court with a packed bag in case he was sent back to jail, was due to apply for his bail conditions to be varied.

But Mr Hopley said Shoukri's lawyers had withdrawn the application and had given an undertaking not to renew it before his preliminary inquiry due to be held on October 22.

Outside the court Shoukri said: "The only reason I wanted my bail conditions varied is that I want to see my family on a regular basis, including my brother Andre whom I have not seen for almost a year."

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