Page last updated at 13:46 GMT, Thursday, 25 September 2008 14:46 UK

Stone trial hears final speeches

Michael Stone at Stormont

The trial of loyalist killer Michael Stone has heard closing speeches from defence and prosecution lawyers.

Stone, 53, denies attempting to murder Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams at Stormont in November 2006 as well as 12 other charges.

Reserving judgement, Mr Justice Deeney said he would return his verdict on the three-week trial "as soon as I can".

He told Belfast Crown Court he wanted to consider all the evidence again and re-examine the various exhibits.

Making his closing speech for the prosecution, Gary McCrudden argued that Stone had built various bombs, "equipped himself with deadly weapons" and launched the attack "as part of a pre-planned mission with the intention of murdering" the Sinn Fein leadership.

Defence QC Orlando Pownall counter-claimed it was "preposterous" that Stone was intent on killing.

He said Stone's claims in the press and during police interview that he was going to "slit their throats" was nothing but "boastful bravado - bigging it up" and that "in any event, the prosecution have not proved that the steps that he had taken were anything more than preparatory".

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