Page last updated at 14:24 GMT, Thursday, 22 May 2008 15:24 UK

Man bailed over kidnap of soldier

Captain Nairac's body was never found
Captain Nairac's body was never found

A man has appeared in court charged with the assault and kidnap of British Army officer Robert Nairac.

Kevin Crilly, 57, from Lower Foughill Road, Jonesborough, denies the charges.

Captain Nairac, 29, originally from Gloucestershire, was abducted by the IRA from Dromintee, County Armagh, on 14 May, 1977. His body was never found.

Mr Crilly appeared at Banbridge Magistrates Court and spoke only to confirm his name and that he understood the charges. He was freed on bail.

The accused was secretly filmed by the BBC last year as part of a Spotlight programme examining Captain Nairac's murder.

Objecting to bail, a police officer confirmed that the programme had been the trigger for re-opening the investigation and that much of the evidence would come from it.

Early release

He also said forensic evidence allegedly linking the accused with the car used to transport Captain Nairac on the night of his death would also form part of the case.

Under cross-examination the detective agreed that the accused had made contact with the PSNI's Historical Enquiries Team voluntarily within weeks of the Spotlight programme.

The lawyer said this, together with the fact that his client had been living openly in the jurisdiction, meant he was unlikely to abscond, the basis of the police objection, if given bail.

The accused went to the USA during the original investigation and remained there for 27 years.

His lawyer, however, insisted that the law was different now and said that, if convicted, his client would be able to apply for early release under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

After a hearing lasting more than an hour, the accused was given bail on sureties totalling more than 120,000.

He will appear again at Newry court in July.

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