Irish Republican News · March 8, 2010
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: UVF ‘grasses’ get shortened sentences
UVF ‘grasses’ get shortened sentences
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Two brothers who committed dozens of loyalist crimes will serve as little as three years in jail because they have turned ‘supergrass’.

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David and Robert Stewart, from Newtownabbey in county Antrim, were both UVF members.

Robert Stewart, admitted 30 charges, including kidnapping and supplying drugs and David Stewart admitted 21 charges including conspiracy to murder.

Together they admitted to a further 22 charges including blackmail, having funds for terrorist purposes, kidnapping, possessing guns, a pipe bomb, bullets and weapons, making and throwing petrol bombs, arson, causing grievous bodily harm and wounding with intent.

All the offences, which have come by way of a “voluntary bill” of indictment, were alleged to have occurred on various dates between January 1994 and July 2007.

Belfast Crown Court heard in February they would give evidence against nine other men charged with murder.

With time spent in jail on remand taken into account they may be eligible for release by the end of summer 2011.

The judge said the short sentences reflected their co-operation. He said the information they had provided led to “a significant number of arrests for serious crimes over a substantial period”.

Outlining how he set the tariff the judge said that for their “important, but subsidiary” role in the murder of UDA leader Tommy English in 2000 the Stewarts would have received a minimum term of 22 years’ imprisonment.

Their assistance to the PSNI saw this reduced by 75% to 5 and a half years’ imprisonment.

It was revealed that David Stewart had converted to Catholicism after being counseled by priests in west Belfast.

The counseling took place at Clonard Monastery, the court heard.

All the offences, which have come by way of a “voluntary bill” of indictment, were alleged to have occurred on various dates between January 1994 and July 2007.

Meanwhile, three men were arrested today by the PSNI over a string of controversial loyalist killings in north Belfast.

The Historical Enquiries Team (HET) re-examined at least 10 murders blamed on the UVF.

Operation Ballast investigated a UVF gang based in the Mount Vernon estate in north Belfast believed to have colluded extensively with the PSNI (formerly RUC) in a series if killings.

Former Police Ombudsman Nuala O’Loan said paramilitary killers were protected from prosecution because they were police agents.

She examined the allegations after a complaint from Belfast man Raymond McCord, whose son, Raymond McCord Junior, was murdered by the UVF in 1997.

© 2010 Irish Republican News