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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 January 2007, 12:26 GMT
NI bank robbery charges dropped
Northern Bank
Dominic McEvoy was accused of robbing the Northern Bank
A County Down builder jointly accused of the 26m Northern Bank robbery in Belfast in December 2004 has had the charges against him dropped.

Dominic McEvoy, 23, from Mullandra Park, Kilcoo, was not in Belfast Magistrates' Court because he had been excused attendance at remand hearings.

Mr McEvoy had also been charged with falsely imprisoning a bank official.

However, a Crown lawyer said the test for a prosecution had not been made and asked for the charges to be withdrawn.

Charges were also dropped against a second man.

Martin McAliskey, 40, from Ballybeg Road, Coalisland in County Tyrone, was accused of withholding information and attempting to pervert the course of justice in relation to a white Ford Transit van alleged to have been used in the robbery.

'Long overdue'

Mr McEvoy's solicitor Niall Murphy said while the withdrawal of charges was welcome it was "long overdue".

He said his client had spent a month in jail before being granted bail.

That application had been opposed by the Crown and if it had been successful Mr McEvoy would have spent 14 months in custody for practically nothing, he said.

Mr McEvoy was jointly charged with Northern Bank official Christopher Ward, 25, from Colinmill, Poleglass, in west Belfast.

The prosecution lawyer said preliminary inquiry papers in respect of Mr Ward were being prepared in draft form and asked for a further remand.

Mr Murphy, who is also acting for Mr Ward, said he was "personally flabbergasted and amazed" at the decision to proceed against his client as there was no evidence.

He suggested that the next remand should not take place until committal papers were served on the defence.

However, Resident Magistrate Philip Mateer remanded Mr Ward on continuing bail until 31 January.

"Hopefully there will be some indication then as to when a preliminary inquiry date can be finalised," he added.

Dominic McEvoy's solicitor reacts to the decision

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