Maze prison escaper Brendan "Bik" McFarlane faces trial on charges connected with the 1983 kidnapping of supermarket exectuive Don Tidey following a Supreme Court decision today.
The court upheld an appeal by the Director of Public Prosecution against a High Court order to stop McFarlane's trial going ahead at the Special Criminal Court.
Today, by a four-to-one majority, the court cleared the way for the trial to go ahead.
The High Court made an order in July 2003 preventing the DPP from proceeding with McFarlane's trial at the non-jury Special Criminal Court because certain exhibits had gone missing and were not available for inspection by McFarlane or his lawyers.
McFarlane (aged 52), of Jamaica St, Belfast, was charged in 1998 with falsely imprisoning Mr Don Tidey in 1983 and with possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life at Derrada Wood, Ballinamore, Co Leitrim, in November and December 1983.
McFarlane was the leader of the Provisional IRA prisoners at the Maze prison and escaped in the mass break-out by 38 prisoners from the jail in September, 1983. He was later arrested in Amsterdam, extradited to Northern Ireland and released on parole from the Maze in 1997.
Supermarket executive Don Tidey was kidnapped by an IRA gang in 1983 and rescued after 23 days in captivity. A trainee garda and a member of the Defence Forces were killed in a shoot-out with the kidnap gang when Mr Tidey was rescued.
In the High Court, Mr Justice Ó Caoimh made an order prohibiting the prosecution of McFarlane after hearing that a milk carton, a plastic container and a cooking pot found at a hideout where Mr Tidey was imprisoned and on which fingerprints were recovered had gone missing from Garda Headquarters.
McFarlane has been remanded on bail since his arrest in 1998 pending the outcome of various legal challenges to his trial.