The identification process took place at an apartment three days before the underworld figure was shot dead in Belfast’s Ardyone district
The identification process took place at an apartment three days before the underworld figure was shot dead in the city’s Ardyone district, it was alleged.
A judge was told CCTV records back the theory that a three-man assassination squad scouted out Lawlor’s movements ahead of the gangland killing.
But prosecutors said police have checked and found no evidence that the trio were involved in his death.
New details emerged as another man charged with the murder of Lawlor on April 4, 2020 mounted a fresh application for bail.
Counsel for Adrian Holland, 39, claimed he is being wrongly prosecuted in circumstances where no jury will find him guilty.
Lawlor, 36, is believed to have travelled to Northern Ireland amid fears he was set to be attacked as part of a violent feud. The court heard he stayed at a flat above a Tesco store on the University Road in south Belfast.
Referring to CCTV viewing records from that location, defence barrister Joe Brolly said the alleged assassination team went to the property on the evening of April 1.
Two of them approached the flat while an accomplice who had never previously met their intended target kept his distance, according to Mr Brolly.
“Lawlor comes to the front door of his apartment, and (the alleged gunman) hangs back where he can’t be seen,” he submitted.
“That gave the gunman a look at Robbie Lawlor.”
Three days later he was shot dead outside Holland's home at Etna Drive.
Neither Holland nor 47-year-old co-defendant Patrick Teer, of Thornberry Hill in Belfast, are suspected of carrying out the shooting.
Instead, they remain in custody charged as part of a joint enterprise to murder, based on their alleged involvement in its preparation.
The court was told Lawlor is believed to have shot and paralysed a boss in the Drogheda-based Maguire gang, and also carried out the gruesome murder of teenager Cian Mulready-Woods.
That feud was said to have formed the backdrop to his eventual contract killing.
A 50,000 euro cash payment was allegedly made to members of the Limerick-based McCarthy-Dundon gang for services rendered in luring him to his death.
Advancing what he described as a “very, very good theory”, Mr Brolly claimed the three-man team was intercepted by police following the shooting but then released and allowed to leave Northern Ireland.
In contrast, he contended, the case against Holland is “perilously weak”.
However, a Crown lawyer confirmed police found nothing to link those suspects to the killing.
“The three individuals Mr Brolly has pointed the finger at were considered at the outset,” she said.
“But there is no evidence to support (them) being involved in the murder; there is material that points away from that suggestion.”
Following submissions Mr Justice O’Hara reserved judgment in Holland’s application for bail.