Legal challenge halts IRA kidnapping trial

The Special Criminal Court today adjourned the trial of Maze prison escaper Brendan 'Bik' McFarlane on charges connected with the 1983 kidnap of supermarket boss Don Tidey after hearing that he is taking a fresh legal challenge to halt the trial.

The Special Criminal Court today adjourned the trial of Maze prison escaper Brendan 'Bik' McFarlane on charges connected with the 1983 kidnap of supermarket boss Don Tidey after hearing that he is taking a fresh legal challenge to halt the trial.

Mc Farlane's counsel Mr Peter Maguire BL told the court that judicial review proceedings in the case were due to be heard in the High Court on November 29 and he asked for the trial to be adjourned until next January.

The court remanded Mc Farlane on continuing bail until January 11 next year.

Mc Farlane (aged 54), of Jamaica St in Belfast was charged in January 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.

Mc Farlane had been in prison at the Maze since 1975 for his part in the IRA bombing of a bar on the Shankill Road in which five people were killed.

He was the OC (officer commanding) of the Provisional IRA prisoners at the Maze prison at the time of the hunger strike in 1981 and escaped in the mass break out by 38 prisoners from the jail in September, 1983.

He was later arrested in Amsterdam in January, 1986, extradited to the North and released on parole from the Maze in 1997. He was arrested by gardaí outside Dundalk in January , 1998.

Supermarket executive Don Tidey was kidnapped by an IRA gang in 1983 and rescued after 23 days in captivity. A trainee garda, Gary Sheehan, and a member of the Defence Forces, Private Patrick Kelly, were killed in a shoot out with the kidnap gang when Mr Tidey was rescued.

McFarlane has been remanded on bail since his arrest in 1998 pending the outcome of various legal challenges to his trial.

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