The British government has been asked to investigate the leniency of sentences handed down to two loyalists who used a PSNI database to gather information in preparation for attacks on nationalists.
Aaron Hill, a data input operative for the PSNI, and Darren Leslie Richardson, who had been a manager at Wrightbus in Ballymena at the time of the offences, pleaded guilty in February to having information likely to be of use to terrorists.
The charges arose from the discovery of a list of more than 100 car owners with names and addresses and of 62 nationalists in the Randalstown area of County Antrim in the desk drawer and car of Richardson.
In February, Hill received a suspended sentence and Richardson, who also pleaded guilty to having 40 live 9mm Luger bullets stored in his office desk, was sentenced to time served on remand awaiting trial. The two men walked free from court to the outrage of victims whose names had appeared on the lists.
Mid Ulster SDLP assembly member Patsy McGlone has now contacted the attorney-general Baroness Scotland on behalf of a number of his constituents who had been targeted by the two loyalists.
“This is a case where the sentences did not in any way reflect the gravity of the crime and that is what we have appealed to the attorney-general to intervene,” he said.
* Prosecutors have dropped a plan to challenge the acquittal of six men detained during alleged dress rehearsals for a unionist paramilitary ‘show of strength’.
One of those seized was top loyalist Ihab Shoukri, who later pleaded guilty to being a member of the UDA.
The others, who denied the charge against them, were found not guilty at Belfast Magistrates Court last May after defence lawyers argued that the premises was not a public place.
Their acquittal was set to be contested at the Court of Appeal, with the prosecution questioning whether the law was properly applied.
* The unionist paramilitary ‘Orange Volunteers’ have claimed responsibility for an alert at Sinn Fein’s office in Cookstown, County Tyrone last week.
The alert came during a period of tension following the Real IRA and Continuity IRA attacks.
A device resembling a pipe bomb was found outside the building on the Burn Road and was subsequently removed.
A caller to a Belfast radio station while the alert was taking place claimed the attack but did not reveal a motivation.