Northern Ireland

Police officers lose anonymity case over Cookstown incident

Two police officers have lost an application for anonymity in a case where they are accused of trying to pervert the course of justice.

A third officer, facing similar charges, withdrew his application just before the hearing.

The three will find out later this month if they are to face trial for an incident in Cookstown police station.

Lawyers had argued that publication of their names and images would have put their security at risk.

However, on Tuesday a district judge rejected their argument.

He revealed that a risk assessment had been carried out into existing publicity surrounding the case and that the response was that the police had no knowledge of any increased risk for any of the defendants as a result of the coverage.

The judge also dismissed claims by defence lawyers that earlier press coverage had been inaccurate and prejudicial.

The case centres on an incident when the contents of a locker in Cookstown station were removed.

The locker belonged to Geoff Ellis, one of the three accused. In court, his address has been given as Cookstown police station.

The locker was allegedly emptied on July 25, 2012, at Mr Ellis' request, by Harry McMahon who was then a serving officer in Dungannon station.

A third officer, David Power, whose address was given as Sprucefield PSNI station, faces a similar charge.

No detail has been given in court about the contents of the locker or why taking them away would have constituted perverting the course of justice.

A preliminary inquiry will be held later this month.