Lawyer ‘is member of UVF’

The PSNI police have alleged that a solicitor telephoned the unionist paramilitary UVF from a police station and said a man they shot should be “taken out” before he made a statement.

The allegations were made in court after the lawyer in question, Manmohan Sandhu, was bugged during interviews with his client.

Mr Sandhu was also alleged to have frustrated police murder inquiries by telling the UVF that a suspect should be “taken off-side”.

The phone calls were allegedly made from a consulting room at the serious crime suite in Antrim.

Indian-born Mr Sandhu was remanded in custody on Monday on four charges of perverting justice and one of attempted incitement to commit murder.

The court was told that the PSNI set up a covert operation into allegations that Mr Sandhu was involved in serious crime while carrying out his duties as a solicitor.

Over 70 solicitor-client conversations were recorded. Mr Sandhu later was arrested as a suspected member of the unionist paramilitary UVF.

Mr Sandhu was accused of ringing a senior UVF figure in east Belfast on his mobile and advised the man should be taken “off-side” as [Sandhu] had become aware he was a suspect in the murder of Jamison Lockhart.

Regarding the incitement to murder charge, it was also alleged that Mr Sandhu had phoned to the effect that Jonathan Hillier, shot by the UVF, “has got to be taken out, he hasn’t made a statement yet.”

Mr Hillier was shot on the Westwinds estate in Newtownards, County Down, last August at the height of a bloody dispute between the UVF and splinter Loyalist Volunteer Force.

Mr Sandhu was released on bail of #5,000 with two sureties of #10,000 each.

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© 2006 Irish Republican News