Alleged PIRA member granted bail

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A man charged in connection with the murder of a Catholic police officer in Derry almost 20 years ago has been released on bail.

Christopher O’Kane, whose address is given on court papers as Kular Court in Derry, is charged with assisting offenders who committed the murder of Constable Michael Ferguson between January 23 and January 25, 1993.

He is further charged with three attempted murders and membership of the Provisional IRA between January 1, 1991 and December 31, 1996.

Opposing bail an investigating officer told Derry Magistrate’s Court yesterday that police were concerned for the safety of the 39-year-old if he was released on bail.

However, defence solicitor Ciaran Shields said the only threat his client has received “is from loyalist prisoners in Maghaberry”.

District Judge Barney McElholm granted bail to O’Kane to reside at an address that was handed into the court.

The 39-year-old will appear in court again on December 13.