Dissident ‘intended to plead guilty to charges’

Christine Connor
Christine Connor

A so-called lone-wolf dissident republican attempting to overturn a conviction for trying to murder police officers has been exposed as dishonest, opportunistic and controlling, the Court of Appeal heard yesterday.

Prosecutors claimed documents and consultation notes from Christine Connor’s former lawyers show she intended to plead guilty to terror plot charges.

The 32-year-old Belfast woman’s current legal representatives insisted her plea was equivocal and should never have been accepted at trial.

Reserving judgment on her appeal, Lord Justice Deeny said: “These are obviously matters of gravity, but also of some complexity.”

Connor is serving a 16-year sentence for a number of terrorist offences which allegedly involved posing online as a Swedish model to lure men into supporting the bid to kill.

Charges against her included a role in bomb attacks on police patrols lured to the Crumlin Road in May 2013. Twelve days later one policeman was injured when more bombs were thrown.

Connor’s counsel, Kieran Vaughan QC, claimed the convictions should be set aside.

He added: “There’s nothing - no notes, no records whatsoever that she has accepted she was guilty of any attempt to murder a police constable.”

But Ciaran Murphy QC, prosecuting, countered that she was advised from the start about the strength of the case against her.

“She is a person who throughout those discussions and throughout her role in the case has shown a considerable degree of control over those whom she instructs.”

Mr Murphy added: “She has not suffered any injustice and there’s adequate material for the court to confidently conclude that she did indeed plead guilty.”