Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Loyalist couple freed

An indigenous Irish nationalist politician has questioned how a British loyalist couple accused of possessing ammunition at their Co Armagh home have walked free from court:

A judge yesterday (Monday) said he could not determine whether the couple had jointly kept the bullets or which one had done so.

Last night SDLP assembly member Dolores Kelly hit out at the "appalling" decision which she said had set "a dangerous precedent".

Police found 61 live rounds of ammunition in a lunch box hidden in a wheelie bin at Neil and Victoria Hyde's Merrion Drive home in Lurgan.

Other items were discovered during the planned search on December 27 2002 but they were not the subject of any charge. The haul included LVF paraphernalia, six balaclavas, gloves, two replica handguns and almost 100 blank rounds.

These were found secreted in a second bin and a hollow brick surround in the living room of the property.

Ms Kelly said she was concerned at "the charmed lifestyle some people in Lurgan live".

The Upper Bann assembly member said the LVF material and other items should have been taken into account.

"How can law and order mean anything if people can get away with these things?" she asked.

"What do people have to do to face a custodial sentence?"


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