Page last updated at 17:56 GMT, Tuesday, 3 June 2008 18:56 UK

McCartney friend 'quizzed by IRA'

Robert McCartney
Robert McCartney was beaten and stabbed to death three years ago

A key prosecution witness in the Robert McCartney murder trial says he met the IRA four times afterwards, with the first meeting in a Sinn Féin office.

Brendan Devine, a close friend of Mr McCartney, 33, was also stabbed on the night he was killed in January 2005.

He said that during the second meeting he was questioned about what happened on the night of Mr McCartney's death.

"I told them what happened and they said to me, 'you do whatever you have to do - tell the truth'," he said.

"They said at that present stage I had nothing to fear."

Mr Devine told Belfast Crown Court he met the IRA on four occasions - the first meeting was at the Sinn Féin centre on Antrim Road, the second when he was taken to a house in the Ardoyne, the third at a café in the Kennedy Centre and the fourth at Holy Cross church.

The men he met included Brendan 'Bik' McFarlane, the IRA's leader in the Maze prison during the 1981 hunger strike - and Harry Maguire, who was sentenced to life in prison for killing two Army corporals in Andersonstown in 1988.

Mr Devine was in the witness box for the second day and spent the morning answering questions about alleged inaccuracies in his evidence about what happened on the night Mr McCartney was killed.

Terence Davison, 51, of Stanfield Place, Belfast, denies murder.

Mr Davison is also accused of affray as are James McCormick, 39, and Joseph Gerard Emmanuel Fitzpatrick, 47.

Mr Fitzpatrick is further charged with an assault on another of Mr Cartney's friends.

The trial continues.

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