McCullough murder accused appears in court

The brother of leading loyalist Andre Shoukri appeared in court in Belfast today, charged with murdering UDA victim Alan McCullough.

The brother of leading loyalist Andre Shoukri appeared in court in Belfast today, charged with murdering UDA victim Alan McCullough.

Ihab Shoukri, 29, from Alliance Road, north Belfast, was accused of killing McCullough, a one-time close associate of jailed terror boss Johnny Adair, and of membership of the outlawed Ulster Freedom Fighters.

Detective Inspector Keith McCoubrey told Belfast Magistrates Court that when charged with both offences Shoukri replied not guilty.

Mr McCoubrey said he believed he could connect the accused with both charges and asked for him to be remanded in custody.

But Shoukri’s counsel Charles McCreanor challenged the remand, saying the evidence against his client was “grossly insufficient at this stage”.

He said there were exceptional features to the case and he did not accept that the police could connect the accused to the charges.

Mr McCreanor said there was legal precedence for granting bail in such a case and the burden of proof was on the Crown to justify detention.

But a lawyer for the Director of Public Prosecutions said the law stated that if a police officer said he had sufficient evidence, this passed the test for remand.

Resident Magistrate Mervyn Bates adjourned the case to consider Mr McCreanor’s argument and said he would give his judgment later in the day.

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