A Belfast man walked free yesterday after a judge acquitted him of involvement in a double bomb attack at the British army’s Northern Ireland headquarters nine years ago.

Belfast Crown Court judge Mr Justice McLaughlin, considering a ‘no case to answer’ application, said he had decided to clear Michael Rogan, pictured, of involvement in the attack at Thiepval barracks on October 7 1996 which injured 31 people including Warrant Officer James Bradwell (46) who died after the car blasts.

Mr Rogan (45), from Easton Avenue, was also cleared of two further charges of collecting information useful to terrorists.

He had been re-arrested last No-vember in Tene-rife after spending seven years on the run.

Mr Justice Mc-Laughlin told the court that altho-ugh he had prepared a judgment setting out his reasons for the acquittals, it was not yet ready to be delivered and would be “handed down in the near future”.

The judge’s not-guilty verdicts came after Barry McDonald QC, defending, argued that “there is no evidence of any knowledge on the part of Michael Rogan to cause any explosion, to engage in any type of criminal, or indeed terrorist, activity”.

During the legal application on Thursday, the lawyer argued that anything beyond stating Mr Rogan purchased two Volvo cars was “pure speculation”, adding that there were “so many possibilities that could explain purchasing two Volvos”.

“People every day of the week buy cars. That does not mean they are part of any conspiracy,” he said.

Outside the court, neither Mr Rogan nor his solicitor Peter Madden wished to comment on the judge’s decision.