Londonderry man to face new trial over Syria terror camp charges

Eamon Bradley is likely to go on trial again at the end of August
Eamon Bradley is likely to go on trial again at the end of August

A man from Londonderry who was acquitted last month of possessing hand grenades in Syria is to stand trial again on the charges a jury failed to reach any verdict on.

Eamon Bradley, originally from Melmore Gardens in Creggan, was alleged to have been involved with a Syrian rebel group opposed to the government of President Bashar Assad and Islamic State.

At Belfast’s Laganside Courthouse on Monday it was decided that the 28-year-old would stand trial again at Londonderry Crown Court on three charges of attending a terrorist training camp and receiving instruction in the use of a grenade and firearms on dates between March and September 2014.

These were the charges the jury at his original trial failed to return any verdicts on following six hours deliberation.

Bradley was not in the Belfast court to hear he will stand trial again in late August/early September, following the summer recess. However, his defence QC Brian McCartney was able to secure a reduction in Bradley’s bail terms.

While he will still have to report to the police, the need for a curfew between 11pm and 7am was lifted.

Prosecutor Ciaran Murphy QC told Judge Brian Sherrard it had been hoped to have the retrial after the Easter break, but because of witness difficulties this was not now the case.

He said that in the circumstances it was thought best that if the trial were to start in the middle of the last week of August, it could be completed by the beginning of September.

Judge Sherrard adjourned the case to be mentioned again early next month when the actual date for the retrial will be fixed.

At his original trial, the first case of its type taken in Northern Ireland, the prosecution claimed that Bradley had been truthful when he told detectives about his alleged activities in Syria after being spirited into the country from Turkey in a makeshift raft.

They also claimed that Bradley, arrested after images of him apparently posing with guns were posted on social media, was not a fantasist, and according to police interview notes, he attended a training camp and was armed as a junior infantryman or mujahid fighter.

However, Mr McCartney, for the defence, said that Bradley was not Londonderry’s answer to Britain’s First World War desert adventurer Lawrence of Arabia and was simply in Turkey on holiday.

An expert witness also testified that the AK 47 assault rifles Bradley was photographed with could have been deactivated.

Mr McCartney also claimed one of the battles his client claimed to have been involved in simply did not take place, and that there was there was no evidence to corroborate that he was even in Syria.