A 30-year-old Newry man who published on his Facebook page photographs he took of police on duty went on trial yesterday accused of possessing, collecting and communicating information likely to be of use to terrorists.
Belfast Crown Court heard that the photographs were found on a computer together with two videos on an iPhone following a police search of the Derrybeg Terrace home of Stephen Martin Murney in November 2012.
While Murney, who has been in custody since his arrest, denies the offences, his defence lawyer Barry Macdonald, QC, SC, yesterday applied to Deputy Recorder Judge Corinne Philpott, QC for a direction that Murney has no case to answer.
The prosecution claim that the photographs, taken between August 2011 and July 2012, including one of him being searched on two separate occasions by police, were placed on his open Facebook account which would enable any other account holder to view the photographs.
However, Mr Macdonald argued that the collecting and publishing of police officers’ photographs, prima facie, does not amount to collecting information for terrorists, as the information itself has to be inherently sinister rather than just sinister because of the circumstances in which it is possessed.
It was the defence case that Murney was wrongly charged and therefore the case against him should be thrown out.
Prosecution and defence lawyers were asked by the Deputy Recorder to supply written submissions on the matters for her consideration before ruling on the direction application next week.