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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 December 2005, 13:06 GMT
26m bank raid accused gets bail
Chris Ward
Chris Ward has been released on bail
An employee accused of the 26.5m Northern Bank robbery in Belfast in 2004 has been granted bail by a High Court judge.

Lawyers representing Chris Ward, 24, from Colinmill, Poleglass, challenged the decision of a lower court to remand the bank worker in custody.

He denied the charge when he appeared before a magistrate earlier this month.

Bail conditions were imposed and Mr Ward was freed on his own and other bail totalling 120,000.

He appeared via video-link from Maghaberry jail where he has been on remand for the past fortnight.

Mr Ward's lawyer, Frank O'Donoghue, QC, said he had been a victim of the gang which carried out the robbery and was not a participant "in any way, shape or form".

In opposing bail, the prosecution had claimed there was a chance witnesses or evidence could be interfered with and that Mr Ward might not show up for his trial.

Lord Justice Campbell said: "I have to say it's a matter which I had to consider very anxiously because of the enormity of the crime alleged against him but I believe that he will turn up."

In freeing him, he did however impose a number of bail restrictions, including the surrender of his passport.

Mr Ward must also report to police twice a day, observe a curfew from 2100 to 0730 GMT and not go within a mile of the Northern Bank premises which were robbed a year ago.


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