Three relatives of prominent dissident republican Colin Duffy, who were due to stand trial on terrorist offences later this year, have been acquitted of all charges.
The Co Armagh trio – Shane Duffy, Paul John Duffy and Damien Daniel Duffy – attended Belfast Crown Court where they were informed that the Crown was “offering no further evidence against any of the accused.”
Following the Crown’s admission that no further evidence was being offered against the trio, a defence barrister asked that all three be acquitted on all charges.
Mr Justice Colton then returned ‘not guilty’ verdicts on all charges before telling the men, who were sitting in the public gallery, that were “formally discharged.”
Following the acquittal the Duffys were asked, but declined, to make a comment.
All three were due to face trial later this year on terrorist-related offences, including conspiring to murder a member of members of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) or the Northern Ireland Prison Service (NIPS) between November 28, 2009 and December 11, 2011.
At an prior court hearing held earlier this year, all three denied both that charge, and all the other offences levelled against them.
Paul Duffy – who is a brother of leading dissident Colin Duffy – faced a further five charges, namely four counts of preparing terrorist acts, and a charge of conspiring to cause an explosion.
From Ailsbury Gardens in Lurgan, the 50-year old had been charged with conspiring with others to cause a bomb at the junction of the Kilmore Road and Cottage Road, Lurgan between June 20 and July 3, 2011.
All four counts of preparing terrorist acts alleged that he gathered information for the use in an attack on police or prison staff on dates between November 2009 and December 2011.
His brother Damien Duffy (45) from Campbell Walk in Lurgan had a total of three charges levelled against him.
As well as the conspiracy to murder charge, Damien Duffy was also charged with preparing terrorist acts by gathering information for an attack on police or prison staff between June 20, 2011 and July 3, 2011, and again on dates between November 28, 2009 and December 11, 2011.
Their cousin Shane Duffy, who is 44 and whose Co Armagh address cannot be published due to a reporting restriction imposed at a previous court hearing, faced a total of four offences. In addition to the conspiracy to murder charge, Shane Duffy was charged with three counts of preparing terrorist acts.
All three charges relate to gathering information to be used in an attack on police or prison staff on dates between November 2009 and December 11, 2011.
The two brothers and cousin were arrested following a major surveillance operation in Co Armagh into alleged dissident republican activity in the area.