The Maze Prison escaper Brendan 'Bik' McFarlane has brought a new set of legal proceedings to stop his trial on charges relating to the 1983 kidnapping of supermarket boss Don Tidey.

He is claiming that he cannot have a fair trial because of what his lawyer called systematic delays in bringing the prosecution.

This is his second set of judicial review proceedings. In 1999 he brought a challenge and a final decision on those proceedings was only delivered last April.

Mr McFarlane claims that the delay of six years and four months in securing final judgment on his challenge was not due to any fault on his part but rather due to delays inherent in court processes. 

He claims these delays have prejudiced his right to a fair trial. In the intervening years he has married and has three children. He claims the family unit is dependent on him for day-to-day care as his wife is in full time employment.

Brendan McFarlane of Jamaica Street, Belfast, was charged in January 1998 with falsely imprisoning Don Tidey in 1983 and with possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life at Derrada Wood, Ballinamore in Co Leitrim.

He was imprisoned in the Maze in 1975 for his part in the bombing of a bar on the Shankill Road in which five people were killed. 

He was the leader of the Provisional IRA inmates at the Maze who escaped in the mass breakout of 38 prisoners in September 1983. He was later rearrested in Amsterdam and returned to Northern Ireland to complete his sentence. 

He was released on parole in 1997 and the following year arrested by gardaí in connection with the Tidey kidnapping.

Last April, in his first set of judicial review proceedings aimed at preventing his prosecution, the Supreme Court held that his trial could proceed. 

Today, however, he has launched a new set of proceedings in the High Court to stop the trial going ahead.