Man charged with murder of gang boss Robbie Lawlor has been ‘plunged into an Orwellian nightmare’, court told


A man charged with the murder of gangster Robbie Lawlor has been plunged into an Orwellian-style nightmare since he was wrongly advised not answer police questions, the High Court in Belfast heard today.

Counsel for Patrick Teer claimed he wanted to provide an account during interviews, but a previous legal representative cautioned him to remain silent.

Despite arguing that a change in circumstances had been established, the 45-year-old defendant was again refused bail.

Teer, of Thornberry Hill, is facing prosecution over his alleged role in the assassination of Lawlor in Ardoyne, north Belfast last year.

The underworld boss was shot dead in broad daylight on April 4 as part of a deadly drugs feud.

According to police, a gunman emerged from 37-year-old co-accused Adrian Holland’s house at Etna Drive and opened fire.

Lawlor (36) died at the scene after being shot in the head and body.

Originally from Dublin, he had been heavily involved in a bitter dispute between rival Drogheda-based factions.

Previous courts were told he may have travelled to Northern Ireland because he feared he was going to be attacked.

Detectives believe Lawlor went to the scene of his killing following a pre-arranged appointment to collect cash.

The still unidentified gunman then escaped in one of two cars parked in the area as suspected getaway vehicles.

Teer and Holland were charged as part of a joint enterprise, based on their alleged involvement in events surrounding the killing.

Evidence in the case centres on telephone cell site analysis, ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) and CCTV inquiries.

Teer’s current legal team told the court today that he had wanted to give an account, but was advised to make no comment by a previous solicitor.

Police then decided not to carry out further interviews despite a newly instructed lawyer “pleading” with them to question him again, it was contended.

Barrister Sean Devine insisted Teer has only become embroiled due to an association with his co-accused.

“This situation has gone disastrously wrong, and it’s no fault of the defendant,” he submitted.

Drawing a comparison with the works of dystopian writers George Orwell or Franz Kafka, counsel said: “I’m struggling to find the correct literary reference here.

“I don’t know whether it’s Owellian or Kafkaesque, but he’s in this nightmarish scenario where the first time he’s ever in trouble in his life he ends up receiving wholly erroneous legal advice.

“He’s then told he will be re-interviewed by police and we are in the process of working out those logistics when that rug is taken from under him as well.”

Prosecutor Natalie Pinkerton responded that the circumstances do not provide police with any legal power to re-interview Teer.

“He can provide a written account to police and he has failed to do that,” she added.

Following submissions Lord Justice Maguire ruled that Teer must remain in custody.

Denying bail, he said: “No sufficient change in circumstances has been established.

“There is a prima facie case currently against the applicant, and we are dealing with serious organised crime.”

Source: Irish News