Dublin man cleared in case connected with prison officer's murder

David Black.

A Dublin man has been cleared by the Special Criminal Court of withholding information relating to the murder of Northern Ireland prison officer David Black in November 2012.

Vincent Banks (aged 46), of Smithfield Gate Apartments in Dublin 7, had denied the charge of withholding information in relation to the murder between October 10th and December 20th, 2012.

The prosecution had alleged that Banks bought the Toyota Camry used in the fatal gun attack on Mr Black's car.

The court heard that 52-year-old Mr Black, who worked at the high security Maghaberry jail in Co Antrim, was murdered as he drove to work on the M1 motorway near Lurgan on November 1, 2012.

It was the prosecution case that Mr Black was shot to death by the occupants of a Toyota Camry car with the Republic of Ireland registration 94 D 50997, and that this car was purchased by Mr Banks.

Today Mr Justice Paul Butler,presiding at the non jury court, said the court was satisfied that Banks had "surreptitiously " bought a Toyota Camry and registered it in a false name and that the car was linked forensically to the shots which killed Mr Black.

However, the judge said that in order to convict Banks, the court must come to the conclusion beyond a reasonable doubt that Banks was aware that the car was to be used in connection with the murder of Mr Black.

"As no evidence, as opposed to suspicions, was led in that regard the court is satisfied that that conclusion is just one step too far and must be in doubt as to whether he had this knowledge," the judge added.

Mr Black's murder was claimed by the dissident terrorist group which terms itself "The IRA" and which is made up of former members of the Real IRA, former members of the Provisional IRA and anti drugs activists.

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