A leading Belfast loyalist who is facing serious drug offence charges has been released on bail for the seventh time in seven months.
William 'Spud' Murphy, a close friend of deposed Ulster Defence Association commander Jim Gray, will appear in Belfast Magistrates Court again on July 26 to face two counts of possession of cocaine, one count of possession of cocaine with intent to supply and one count of possession of cannabis.
This will be the eighth time Murphy, 42, will face the charges, having walked free from court on his previous seven appearances. The latest charges relate to an incident on December 4 2004 when the PSNI stopped Murphy, Gray and a third man in a car on the King's Road in East Belfast.
Mr Murphy has been a long-time associate of ex-loyalist leader Gray. He was by his side during a court appearance last year when Gray was accused of hitting a PSNI man with his car.
Murphy also helped Gray carry the coffin of murdered South Antrim UDA leader John 'Grugg' Gregg, who was shot dead in 2003 by members of Johnny Adair's UDA C Company faction.
When Milltown Cemetery killer Michael Stone was released from jail to attend a loyalist rally in Belfast's Ulster Hall in 1998, Murphy acted as his bodyguard during the event.
With his bleached blonde hair and flamboyant dress sense he is often mistaken for his close friend Gray, who has been languishing in jail for the past three months facing money laundering charges.
Murphy is one of many senior loyalists to have been bailed in recent months despite facing serious charges.
UDA boss William 'Mo' Courtney, who is accused of murder, is out on bail, as is leading North Belfast loyalist Laurence 'Duffer' Kincaid, who is accused of possessing Class A drugs with intent to supply.
In 2003 North Belfast UDA leader Andre Shoukri was granted bail while facing charges of possessing a gun with intent to endanger life.
In the same year his brother, Ihab Shoukri, was also bailed while facing murder charges.
Other leading loyalists to be bailed while charged with serious offences include Belfast men Thomas Potts, Gary MacKenzie and Portadown loyalist Jim Fulton, who had his bail conditions altered so he could watch a July 12 Orange march.