Page last updated at 12:56 GMT, Friday, 18 September 2009 13:56 UK

Man bailed over soldier murders

Brian Shivers
Brian Shivers was given bail at the High Court on Friday

A 44-year-old man charged with the murders of two soldiers in March has been given bail at the High Court.

Brian Shivers, from Sperrin Mews in Magherafelt, is also charged with the attempted murder of six other people.

Lawyers for the defendant, who suffers from cystic fibrosis, have argued that his health is seriously at risk.

Sappers Patrick Azimkar and Mark Quinsey were shot dead outside Massereene barracks in Antrim by the Real IRA.

On Friday, the accused was told that he would be released from prison for specialist treatment for his condition.

His lawyer Orlando Pownell QC argued that the prison authorities had not provided adequate medical treatment for what he described as a life-threatening illness.

It was claimed that he hadn't been given antibiotics that were crucial to controlling the disease, and that he'd ended up in hospital because of a deterioration of his condition.

The lawyer said Mr Shivers claimed he had been told he could not have the anitbiotics because it was a bank holiday.

And he said that his client had been given an apology by what he described as the "public health authority."

Crown lawyers conceded the prison authorities had made a mistake.

At a previous bail hearing, prison officials had also been ordered to a transcribe a CD-ROM of an expert witness who treated Mr Shivers, so that they could better provide for him.

It emerged that this hadn't happened.

Lord Justice Coughlan said it did appear an administrative mistake had exacerbated the defendant's condition.

He said that despite his concerns about the seriousness of the case and the risk of re-offending, he was prepared to grant bail.

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