Lurgan ‘dissident republican’ sent for trial over bomb planted at school

James Seamus McGuigan leaves Craigavon Court

James Seamus McGuigan leaves Craigavon Court

A Lurgan man has been ordered to stand trial accused of having a mobile phone allegedly used by dissident republicans when they tried to remotely detonate a bomb outside a school.

At Craigavon Magistrates’ Court, 45-year-old James Seamus McGuigan from North Street in the town, was charged with possessing a mobile phone and sim card “in circumstances which gave rise to a reasonable suspicion their possession was for a purpose connected with the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism” on dates between October 8 and October 18, 2013.

The charges arise after a viable explosive device was uncovered in Sloan Street in Lurgan in October 2013. Previous courts have heard dissident republican terrorists tried four times to remotely detonate a no-warning bomb beside a special needs school.

Describing McGuigan as a “dissident republican” a detective constable outlined how a mobile phone was strapped to the bomb so that it could be detonated remotely, claiming that police investigations indicated that terrorists had tried to detonate the bomb before calling Craigavon Area Hospital to issue a bomb warning, claiming to be from the Real IRA.

That call resulted in the school, another nearby primary school and several homes being evacuated, the officer said, adding that when the device was examined by ATO, it was described as a “viable explosive device”.

The officer claimed McGuigan could be linked to the incident as a sim card used in the efforts to detonate the bomb had originated from him and that his fingerprints were also found in the phone box in the Seagoe Industrial Estate which had been used to call the hospital.

None of the claims were opened in court yesterday but a prosecuting lawyer submitted that there is a prima facie case against McGuigan based on the evidence and statements.

Deputy District Judge Sean O’Hare said he was satisfied there was a case to answer and returned the case to the Crown Court for trial.

McGuigan was remanded on his own bail of £700, with two sureties of £2,500 and £2,000, to appear for arraignment at Laganside court on a date to be fixed.

Conditions of the bail include a curfew from 8.30pm until 7am, he signs three times a week at Lurgan police station, he is tagged, he is not allowed to leave Northern Ireland, he must surrender his passport and is not to be in possession of a mobile phone.

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