Jury picked for trial of Coalisland man accused of smuggling immigrants into the UK

Court

Court

A jury has been chosen for the trial of a Coalisland man and a Derry man accused of smuggling 35 immigrants into the UK in a shipping container, one of whom died.

Martin McGlinchey, 49, from Coalisland and Stephen McLaughlin, 36, of Derry, both face a charge of conspiring to facilitate illegal entry into the UK and will face trial at Basildon Crown Court, Essex.

A panel of 14 jurors was selected on Monday, 12 of whom will be sworn in for the four-week trial on Tuesday ahead of the prosecution’s opening.

Meet Singh Kapoor was one of 35 Afghan Sikhs, including 15 children, found inside the container at Tilbury Docks in Essex on the morning of August 16 2014.

The 40-year-old died during an overnight crossing from Zeebrugge in Belgium, but the rest of the immigrants survived the cramped journey.

The refugees, who ranged in age from 16 months to 72, are believed to have fled Kabul in Afghanistan after suffering alleged persecution.

Martin McGlinchey, who took the container to Dover before it was transported abroad, said he didn’t know the container was to be used to carry a human cargo.