SEVEN murder-accused men charged with gunning down a Greenock dad on his doorstep had their trial date set yesterday - almost exactly a year after the alleged shooting.

Kieran Meechan, Jack Benson, Brendan Balloch, Kieran Hendry, Michael Munro, Dale Russell, and Martin McCusker are all accused of killing 37-year-old Neil Canney in Larkfield.

The group, whose indictment has a total of 14 serious organised crime charges, are also accused of the attempted murders of six other people - including a toddler.

Mr Canney was shot and killed at his Nairn Road home on February 28 last year, according to prosecutors.

The seven accused all face an allegation of repeatedly discharging a firearm and shooting him in the head.

Court papers alleged that they 'did murder him'.

They are also charged with attempted murder, having allegedly fired a weapon towards the Larkfield house in which six other people were present, including a 13-year-old child and a toddler, aged two.

A date for the start of their trial was set for June 23 next year at the High Court in Edinburgh on Thursday, with the case expected to last six weeks.

The hearing was held in the absence of all seven accused, who are due to appear at a further preliminary criminal hearing on June 26 this year.

Mr Canney was found seriously injured at his address in the early hours of February 28 last year and died a short time later in hospital.

Greenock Telegraph: Neil CanneyNeil Canney

The charges against his alleged killers are said to have been aggravated by a connection with serious organised crime.

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Hendry, 25, and Munro, 26, were also concerned in the supplying of heroin, cocaine and cannabis in Inverclyde between June and August 2020, prosecutors claim.

The pair are said to have dealt cocaine to a named man and two women between October 2022 and February 2023 at various locations in Greenock, while they allegedly supplied heroin to the same male between December 2022 and February 2023.

A further drugs supply charge claims that, together with co-accused Balloch, they were involved in the sale of narcotics at the Marriott Hotel in Glasgow on February 25 last year, days before the alleged shooting.

According to the indictment, Munro had been granted bail at Greenock Sheriff Court for separate matters just weeks before the alleged murder.

Meechan, 28, faces charges of being concerned in the supplying of etizolam and cocaine between April 2020 and March 2023, while he is also said to have had unlawful possession of a machete, along with 29-year-old co-accused Russell, on the night of Mr Canney's death.

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Meechan had also been granted bail on January 20 last year, court papers state.

Twenty-four-year-old Balloch is said to have been concerned in the supplying of cocaine on the M8 motorway and elsewhere in Inverclyde between September 2021 and March 2023.

Benson, 23, faces a similar cocaine supply charge from March 2 last year at Baker Street in Greenock and elsewhere in the district, while 29-year-old Russell is alleged to have shouted at and threatened a police sergeant at Motherwell police office following his arrest on March 4, 2023.

McCusker, 39, is listed on two of the 14 indictment charges - relating to the alleged murder and attempted murder offences.

The seven men all remain remanded in custody.