Supporters of a man charged with murdering journalist Lyra McKee scuffled with police outside court as he arrived for his first appearance in the dock.
Paul McIntyre, from Derry, is accused of killing Ms McKee, 29, who was shot dead by dissident republicans while observing a riot in Derry in April.
Supporters of the 52-year-old holding placards saying he is a “political hostage” and a “British scapegoat” scuffled with up to 40 police officers as they refused to move from the entrance to Derry Magistrates’ Court today.
There were loud cheers as McIntyre was brought out of a Range Rover and taken into the court building.
Ms McKee was standing near a police vehicle when she was hit by a bullet fired by a masked gunman towards officers.
The Belfast writer was living in Derry with her partner, Sara Canning, who also arrived at court this morning.
Ms Mckee’s sister Nichola Corner was among several people in the public gallery wearing T shirts emblazoned with her picture.
McIntyre is also charged with possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life and belonging to or professing to be a member of a proscribed organisation. His address was given in court as Kinnego Park, Derry.
He is alleged to have committed a joint enterprise with an unknown gunman by picking up the cases of the bullets used to kill her, the court heard.
During a 50-minute hearing, defence lawyer Derwin Harvey said: “The allegation against Mr McIntyre is that Mr McIntyre is at this riot and a male shoots the gun and that Mr McIntyre, after the gun was shot, picks up the cases.”
The court heard a lengthy defence submission applying for bail, but the judge adjourned the hearing until he received further information from prosecution about the evidence linking McIntyre to the charges.
Mr Harvey said the case rested on a “snapshot” of low-quality mobile phone footage which the prosecution claims showed a man wearing clothing matching what his client was wearing earlier in the day.
A PSNI detective, who said she could connect McIntyre to the charges, outlined the extent of evidence police had examined in the last nine months.
That included five hours of footage taken by an MTV camera crew which was making a documentary in the area, mobile phone footage and witness statements from members of the public and police.
She said all that information had been presented to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS), which in turn sought the opinion of senior legal counsel.
The detective said: “The opinion returned was the test for prosecution in this matter has been met.”
She objected to bail on the grounds of potential interfering with witnesses, risk of further offending and of fleeing the jurisdiction.
He was remanded in custody and will next appear in court on February 27.
In a statement on Wednesday, Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy said: “I have always said a number of individuals were involved with the gunman on the night Lyra was killed, and while today is significant for the investigation the quest for the evidence to bring the gunman to justice remains active and ongoing.”
Ms McKee was a gay rights activist and an articulate advocate of a new and more tolerant Northern Ireland and part of the generation which reached adulthood during peace time.
She wrote for publications including Private Eye and Buzzfeed.
Her funeral was attended by then British prime minister Theresa May, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and President Michael D Higgins at St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast.
Catholic priest Fr Martin Magill received a standing ovation when he asked why it took her death to unite politicians.
Days later the British and Irish governments announced a new talks process aimed at restoring devolution.
Powersharing was resurrected last month and the first same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland took place this week.
The New IRA said it carried out the killing of Ms McKee.