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Suspected UDA armed robber receives bail

3 December, 2004

Sinn Féin Assembly member for North Belfast Gerry Kelly said today that the decision of a Belfast court to grant bail to a suspected UDA armed robber one day after he was originally remanded, raised again very obvious questions about the judiciary in the six counties.

Mr Kelly said:

" Republicans know only to well the biased and partisan nature of the judiciary in the six counties. That is why we made it an issue in the negotiations which led to the Agreement. That is why we have devoted so much time and energy since the Criminal Justice Review in getting this issue right. Policing and Justice cannot be divorced if we are to create the sort of society we are aiming for.

" Time and again senior and well known UDA figures appear in court receive automatic bail and if ever convicted receive paltry sentences. Contrast this with republicans and nationalists. There are countless cases of people spending years on remand with no prospect of bail. There is no comparison between the severity of sentences handed out to republicans and any other group.

" This well known loyalist receiving bail today is further reminder for ordinary people just how much work we still need to do to transform the current system into a system which nationalists and republicans can have confidence in." ENDS

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