1. ITV Report

Ten in court over raids by Paramilitary Crime Task Force

Searches were carried out by police investigating the East Belfast UVF. Credit: PSNI

Ten people have appeared in court on charges arising out of searches carried out by the PSNI’s Paramilitary Crime Task Force.

Raids on houses in east Belfast, Newtownards and Comber in March led to a number of arrests and police also seized drugs, cash and cars.

On Thursday, eight men and one woman appeared before Belfast Magistrates’ Court on drugs charges, while another man stood accused of breaching the Data Protection Act.

One of the men accused of drug dealing has already been charged with the murder of east Belfast father-of-two Ian Ogle in January – an offence for which he is currently on High Court bail.

Glenn Rainey, 33 and from McArthur Court in Belfast, is now further accused of being concerned in the supply of cocaine.

The others facing the same charge are:

  • Neil Findlay, 48 and from Park Avenue in Belfast
  • Taylor Gray, 24 and from Oval Court in Belfast
  • Daniel Baine, 32 and from Connswater Grove in Belfast
  • Richard Close, 48 and from Clonduff Avenue in Belfast
  • Jonathan Watson, 32 and from Weavers Grange in Newtownards
  • Simon Mooney, 40 and from Mountjoy Street in Belfast
  • Daniel Irvine, 47 and from Tower Street in Belfast
  • Maggie Hutton, 46 and from Wolff Close in Belfast

Another man – 34-year-old Samuel Taylor, from Kingswood Park in Belfast - was charged with two counts of unlawfully obtaining and/or disclosing personal information contrary to the Data Protection Act.

He is charged with committing the offences, involving names and addresses, on 22 May 2018 and again on 6 August 2018.

A solicitor for Taylor revealed: “He has been suspended from work as a result of the allegations.”

During the hearing, an application to amend the terms of Glenn Rainey’s bail conditions to allow him to attend his GP was granted, despite police objections.

A solicitor for Rainey pointed out that his client’s GP surgery was in an area he was banned from entering as part of his bail conditions.

The solicitor asked District Judge Alan Whyte to “show some degree of sympathy for a man who was in intensive care, who was only released on Monday, and who - under direction from the Royal Victoria Hospital - needs to go to his GP”.

Police objected by highlighting reports of intimidation in the area and saying the Ogle family would be “re-traumatised” and by raising concerns for Rainey’s own personal safety.

Rainey was granted permission to visit his GP, but was ordered to notify police first and leave the area immediately after his appointments.

A second variation to bail, to allow Rainey to possess a mobile phone, was denied when District Judge Whyte said: “No, absolutely not.”

All 10 people who appeared in the dock spoke to confirm that they understood the charges against them and a police sergeant said he believed he could connect all of them to the offences.

The judge released all 10 on continuing bail and re-listed the case before the same court on 30 May.