Evidence against two men accused of rioting on the night journalist Lyra McKee was shot dead is based on video footage captured by MTV, a court has heard. McKee, 29, was shot dead in Derry in April 2019 as she observed the riot in the Creggan area of the city.
Patrick Gallagher, 29, from Gartan Square in Derry, and Jude McCrory, 24, from Magowan Park in the city, appeared by video link before Derry Magistrates’ Court on Friday morning. Both are accused of rioting on the night McKee was shot and also throwing petrol bombs.
Video footage presented in court
They were granted bail after appearing separately before district judge Barney McElholm.
A defence lawyer representing both men in the consecutive hearings said the evidence against them was “identical” and was based on footage the police obtained from an MTV documentary crew that was making a film in the Creggan area with presenter Reggie Yates on the night of the riot. He told the court:
It’s identical evidence, it’s the MTV footage,
Read on...Support us and go ad-free
The lawyer said the PSNI had the footage in its possession since April 2019, raising concern over the “significant delay” in arresting and charging the men. He suggested an initial decision had been taken not to prosecute on the basis of the footage and claimed that decision had now been reversed. He said:
Something has changed or clicked whereby it now merits a prosecution,
During their respective hearings, both accused spoke only briefly to confirm their names to the court. A PSNI detective sergeant told the judge he could connect both men to the offences.
The defence lawyer said the evidential threshold to connect an accused to a charge was “low” but said he accepted the connections with a “degree of hesitation“. During Gallagher’s appearance, the lawyer said his client denied the charges. He said:
He strenuously denies the allegations against him,
He believes that the evidence against him is tedious. He was involved in the making of the documentary. His role in the making of the documentary, it was no different to the person who made the documentary, Mr Reggie Yates, and he takes issue with the fact that he faces these criminal charges.
Bail conditions agreed
Bail conditions were agreed by both defence and prosecution. Conditions included £500 bail payments for both accused along with a £750 surety each. They are subject to a night-time curfew and will be electronically tagged. They are also excluded from the Creggan area of the city and can have no contact with anyone else accused of offences linked to the events of the night.
Three men have already been charged with the murder of McKee and another two have been charged with rioting and associated offences. The extremist group that styles itself the New IRA has previously claimed it was responsible for killing the Belfast journalist and author.
The defence lawyer raised concern about further delay in the case. Judge McElholm said he saw no reason why the prosecution could not proceed “fairly quickly”, noting the evidence in the case had already been gathered. A review hearing was scheduled for October 21.
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?