Clashes between police and demonstrators erupted outside a courtroom on Thursday after a 52-year-old man was formally arraigned on murder charges in connection with the death of a journalist last year.
The man was formally identified by the British press as Paul McIntyre, a Londonderry native.
McIntyre was arraigned on charges of murder, possession of a firearm and being a member of the New IRA political organization, according to media reports.
He was arrested and questioned earlier this week in connection with the fatal shooting of 29-year-old Lyra McKee as she was covering a riot between police and members of the New IRA last April.
Around 40 demonstrators gathered outside the Londonderry courthouse on Thursday in support of McIntyre, claiming he was a “scapegoat” and a “political prisoner.”
A 52-year-old man appears in court in Derry – Londonderry charged with the murder of Lyra McKee. The 29 year old Journalist was shot dead by the New IRA last April during riots in Creggan. pic.twitter.com/I8TCwUCwpN
— Q Radio News (@qnewsdesk) February 13, 2020
A defense attorney representing McIntyre said there was little evidence against his client and that he appeared to have been charged based on anecdotal evidence that he was seen collecting bullet casings fired from a gun held by another individual.
During the arraignment, a district court judge said protesters gathered outside who were “threatening journalists” and blocking the building’s entrance were doing McIntyre “no favors whatsoever.” But he cautioned that in order for justice to be served in the case, “we need to get the right people.”
The judge remanded McIntyre to custody. He is due back in court on February 27.
Disclosure: The author of this story was a personal friend of Lyra McKee.