Belfast man walks free in US$47 mil. bank heist case


BELFAST — A former bank employee accused of involvement in a 26.5 million pound (US$47 million) robbery that almost derailed the Northern Ireland peace process walked free on Thursday after the charges against him were dropped. Former Northern Bank employee Christopher Ward, 26, who was accused of false imprisonment and robbery, was pronounced “not guilty” by the judge in a case that began on Sept. 9 and was expected to last eight weeks.

Police and some politicians have said they believe Irish Republican Army (IRA) guerrillas were behind the December 2004 heist at Northern Bank’s headquarters in Belfast which was one of the biggest bank raids in British history.