Page last updated at 13:58 GMT, Monday, 18 May 2009 14:58 UK

Diplock court for solicitor case

Premises operated by the solicitor in Limavady
The charges against Mr Sandhu include incitement to murder

Solicitor Manmohan 'Johnny' Sandhu has gone on trial at Belfast Crown Court.

The 45-year old faces a series of charges including incitement to murder and perverting the course of justice.

The court heard that six of the charges denied by Sandhu "arise out of the covert recording" of his consultations with suspected terrorists.

Mr Justice Deeny, sitting as a Diplock judge in a non-jury court, is to hear the case against Mr Sandhu, who is from Colby Avenue in Londonderry.

The covert recording was carried out while the solicitor was consulting with clients at the Antrim Serious Crime Suite.

A prosecution QC said that instead of offering legal advice to persons who were arrested about serious terrorist offences, Mr Sandhu "abused his position and engaged in a range of criminal behaviours".

The court also heard that Sandhu's lawyers are to contest the admissibility of the transcripts taken from the covert surveillance.

The hearing of actual evidence concerning the solicitor's alleged involvement with loyalist paramilitaries was adjourned until Wednesday.

Although the case is expected to last up to six weeks, a defence lawyer said it may be possible to reduce that period by potentially agreeing the evidence of a number of technical prosecution witnesses.



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