THE accuracy of the Independent Monitoring Commission report on paramilitary violence has come under fresh attack this weekend with the PSNI publicly disputing that there was any paramilitary involvement in the murder of Michael O'Hare in March 2003, writes Susan McKay.
And in a separate development the Sunday Tribune understands that the claims in the IMC report may now lead to the collapse of the case of the man accused of the killing.
O'Hare died after a fire at his flat in Bangor. Two days later, Colin Martin Bell (28) was charged with the murder. The PSNI ruled out paramilitary involvement and the British solicitor general, Harriet Harman, descheduled the offence. It is due to be tried in front of a jury at the Crown Court in Downpatrick. Paramilitary murders are tried in nonjury Diplock courts.
However, the solicitor who represents Bell will tomorrow begin proceedings to try to have the trial stopped.
"There is a real risk that a jury could be prejudiced by the IMC report and the publicity which has arisen as a result of it, " said Joe Rice.
"We will be looking for an abuse of process application." Bell is on remand in the non-paramilitary wing of Maghaberry prison.