A code-breaking statement has been obtained as part of the case against men allegedly involved in importing £2m worth of drugs into Northern Ireland, the High Court has heard.
However, a judge granted bail to one of the suspects after police were unable to show him information to back up claims of telephone traffic between some of the accused.
Mr Justice Hart ordered a £120,000 cash surety to be lodged before Barry Kavanagh, 30, could be released to live at an address in Belfast.
The court heard Kavanagh, of no fixed address, could not return to his native Derry because he is under death threat.
Kavanagh was among eight men charged in connection with an alleged conspiracy to supply drugs seized in February.
Large quantities of cocaine, speed and herbal cannabis were recovered after police tracked a consignment from the north of England to Annalong, Co Down.
Detectives and crimefighting agencies on both sides of the Irish Sea mounted a year-long surveillance operation before the arrests were made.
Kavanagh denies the alleged offences, but in court today a prosecuting lawyer claimed mobile phone communications link him to the couriers.
Covert text messages were sent between him and a co-accused, it was claimed.
Crown counsel Kate McKay said: "I'm told there was a code-breaking statement received by the PPS (Public Prosecution Service).
"It appears to show that there was a number of mobile phones used (every time there was a job)."
No further details on the statement were disclosed, but when pressed by the judge about the state of the evidence, Mrs McKay said police felt it was not appropriate at this stage to put it before the court.
Barry Gibson, defending, said Kavanagh gave an explanation for the text following his arrest at a flat in Belfast.
Mr Gibson said his client could stay at an apartment close to Grosvenor Road Police Station in Belfast.
He added: "There is a threat on his life from persons within the city of Derry."
Granting bail, Mr Justice Hart stated: "This is yet another case where it is asserted that the evidence against the accused can be drawn from a pattern of mobile phone contact between the various persons allegedly involved in this very substantial criminal enterprise."
He added: "It appears that this crucial evidence is not yet in a position to be placed before the court. I find that very surprising because it appears to suggest the prosecution have not devoted the necessary attention to preparing evidence in a form that will enable the court to determine how strong the case is against the applicant."
The judge ordered a £120,000 cash surety to be lodged, and also imposed a curfew and electronic tagging.
Monday, 20 December 2010
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