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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 April, 2005, 12:21 GMT 13:21 UK
Informers to be used in UDA case
Informers are to give evidence against six men who face UDA membership and drugs charges, a court has heard.

A lawyer for two of the men said it was the first time in 20 years the Crown had sought to use "informer evidence".

Defence counsel said the Crown resorted to this as there was "no forensic evidence" against his clients who had not made statements of admission.

Six men and another man not charged with UDA membership have been released on bail at the High Court in Belfast.

A barrister told the court that in March, 2003, police in Newtownards, County Down, began an investigation into the local UDA concerning drug offences and money laundering.

A number of people were arrested and released but warned that a file would be sent to the DPP and they might face charges.

She said the investigation began after Noel Lee and Freddie Hamilton - who were known to the defendants - informed police about drug dealing.

'Witness protection'

"The main evidence at the trial will be the evidence of Lee and Hamilton," she said, adding that both men were in a witness protection programme.

Five of those accused of UDA membership are from Newtownards.

They are: John Miskimmon, 26, of George Street; Richard Dalzell, 24, of Whinpark Road; David Swindle, 41, of East Street; Arthur McChesney, 41, of West Street, and Richard Barry, 32, of Cairndore Way.

The sixth defendant, Paul Brown, 33, is from Lightkeeper's Cottages, Greencastle, County Antrim.

Mr Barry was also charged with attempting to injure witness Noel Lee and false imprisonment.

A seventh man, Neil Moore, 24, from Burnreagh Court, Newtownards, was also granted bail on drugs charges and making money available for purposes of terrorism.


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