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Last Updated: Friday, 30 May, 2003, 13:15 GMT 14:15 UK
Man denies Finucane murder
Pat Finucane was shot dead by loyalist paramilitaries in 1989
Pat Finucane was shot dead in 1989
A man has pleaded not guilty to the murder of the Catholic solicitor Pat Finucane, who was shot dead in front of his wife and children at their Belfast home 14 years ago.

Ken Barrett appeared before Belfast Magistrates' Court on Friday where he also faced a number of other serious charges.

The court heard that in a statement given to police Barrett described himself as a "scapegoat" and "the subject of state victimisation".

A detective inspector from the Police Service of Northern Ireland told the court that new evidence had come to light in the past two years - namely a BBC Panorama interview - and two covert police operations in England.

Mr Barrett faces five other charges, including two counts of attempted murder from 1991, one of stealing weapons from an Army base a few years earlier and another relating to membership of illegal loyalist paramilitary organisations, which he also denies.

He was remanded in custody until 27 June and a solicitor told the court a High Court bail application would be lodged within days.

Controversial

He was arrested in England on Wednesday and flown back to Northern Ireland for questioning.

BBC Ireland correspondent Kevin Connolly says it is the link to the murder of Mr Finucane, a high profile lawyer, which gives this case a political resonance.

Mr Finucane's murder was one of the most controversial killings during the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

Ken Barrett
Ken Barrett, centre, arrives in NI for questioning by detectives

The Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir John Stevens, recently published his third report in 14 years into collusion between elements of Army intelligence and loyalist paramilitaries.

He concluded that collusion had played a part in Mr Finucane's death.

The Finucane family, backed by nationalist politicians, have been demanding a full public inquiry into the case.

They say there is no other way to establish how far up the political chain of command the collusion went.

Stolen goods

Ken Barrett is also charged with the attempted murders of Thomas McCreery and Elizabeth McEvoy on 17 January 1991.

The theft charge relates to two SA80 rifles with sights, two empty magazines and two Browning pistols with two empty magazines, stolen from the Ulster Defence Regiment Armoury at Malone Barracks in Belfast on 31 January 1989.

Mr Barrett is also charged with handling stolen goods on 25 August 1987, in relation to the disposal of 11 Browning pistols, two light machine guns, two signal weapons, one .38 Smith and Wesson revolver, two air rifles and a quantity of ammunition.

He is further charged with membership of the Ulster Defence Association and Ulster Freedom Fighters, on or before 29 May 2003.


WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Denis Murray
"Ken Barrett also faces a series of other charges"



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