‘Dissident threat to witness in Coalisland’

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A key witness in a criminal trial is under threat from dissident republicans, the High Court heard today.

A judge was also told three men showed up at his Co Tyrone home after the hearing got underway and warned him not to attend.

It was claimed that after he chased them from the house one shouted: “Oglaigh na hEireann, we know where your mother and sister lives.”

The trial, which cannot be described in detail for legal reasons, was subsequently stopped and a new date has still to be fixed.

Details emerged as bail was refused to one of the men accused of going to the home in Coalisland in January.

Patrick Larkin, 46, of Ladbrook Drive, Belfast, faces a charge of intimidation of a witness.

Kate McKay, prosecuting, said two of the men pushed their way into the witness’s house after he tried to shut the door on them.

A phone was pulled from his wife as she tried to call the police.

“He was told twice ‘Don’t you go to court’,” Mrs McKay said.

Following the incident the couple both withdrawn statements they made to police.

“”They clearly have been through a very traumatic time since this,” Mrs McKay added.

She revealed that a threat message has also been supplied to the husband.

It stated that dissident republicans intend to carry out some form of unspecified action against him.

Mr Justice Weir was also told the trial may be switched to a different venue when it resumes due to jury concerns.

Defence counsel Sean Devine argued that the alleged intimidation involving his client was far from accomplished.

“It’s so amateurish that it almost could be described as a caper,” he said.

Bail was denied, however, due to the risk of further offences.

Mr Justice Weir pointed out: “The attempted intimidation of a witness strikes at the very heart of the administration of justice. It’s a very, very grave matter.”