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#Encrochat: Man facing charges linked to encrypted phone system has application to vary bail refused

A LURGAN man facing charges linked to an encrypted phone system favoured by criminal gangs had an application to vary his bail refused.

Samuel McCaughey (31), from Kilwilkie Road, has been charged with 19 offences including conspiracy to murder, conspiracy to possess a firearm and being concerned in the supply of cocaine.

He was amongst a large number of people arrested in 2020 after police obtained data from a clandestine mobile phone network - EncroChat - which led to multiple investigations.

McCaughey's barrister Aaron Thompson launched an application at Belfast Crown Court to remove two of his client's bail conditions - namely reporting to police and a curfew - which was refused by Judge Peter Irvine QC.

Before reaching his decision, Judge Irvine was told by prosecution barrister Robin Steer that the application to remove the two conditions was opposed.

This, said Mr Steer, was based on concerns that McCaughey would not turn up for his trial and may also re-offend.

Branding the charges faced by McCaughey as "particularly serious", Mr Steer said they arose from text messages the Crown say are attributed to the Co Armagh man.

Mr Steer said McCaughey's current bail conditions were "proportionate" and "are working".

Mr Thompson said his client has been on bail for almost two years and a trial wasn't likely to take place until 2023. Pointing out that in these two years McCaughey has been "bail compliant and earning points of trust", Mr Thompson said there had been no re-offending in that period.



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