Man facing terror charges has bail conditions varied so he can attend event in Donegal

Damien Duffy pictured at an earlier court hearing. Pic: Pacemaker
Damien Duffy pictured at an earlier court hearing. Pic: Pacemaker
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The brother of prominent Lurgan republican Colin Duffy had his bail varied today to allow him to attend a family event in Donegal this weekend.

Damien Duffy is facing terrorist charges arising from the discovery of explosives in Co Armagh in September 2016, and is accused of being part of a plot to target a former police officer.

The 49-year old, from Westclare Court in Dungannon, applied to have his bail varied to allow him an overnight stay in Donegal. The aim of the trip, Belfast Crown Court heard, was to attend a family event on Saturday in the wake of his nephew’s death.

Seanna Duffy, 19, died earlier this month following a car crash on the Saintfield Road in Lisburn.

Niall Murphy, the solicitor for Damien Duffy, said Seanna’s death has had a “catastrophic effect” on the Duffy family, who wanted to get away for a few days and “be as a family unit” together.

Mr Murphy asked Judge McCormick to relax Duffy’s bail conditions for one night, to allow him to stay overnight at a B&B and attend a family meal on Saturday.

A prosecuting barrister said a co-accused of Duffy’s, Shea Reynolds – who has two children with Colin Duffy’s daughter – had his bail conditions relaxed earlier this week to allow him to travel to Donegal and stay in a caravan with his partner and her family.

Telling Judge McCormick that as part of bail condition Damien Duffy and Shea Reynolds were banned from having contact with each other, the prosecutor expressed concerns that due to the “family background,” the two men would associate with each other.

Mr Murphy revealed that Seanna Duffy was not just his client’s nephew, but also his Godson. Addressing the Crown’s concerns that the two men would associate this weekend, Mr Murphy said: “If requested, Mr Reynolds will not attend the dinner, so Mr Duffy can go.”

Judge McCormick then called Duffy to the witness box where she asked for his undertaking “that he will not remain in the same room as Mr Reynolds, if he is permitted to go.”

Duffy swore on the Bible, then told Judge McCormick he and Reynolds were “aware of the situation and try to avoid each other.”

Judge McCormick then asked Duffy: “Will you give me your undertaking that if Shea Reynolds attends the family dinner, you will not remain and will leave?”, to which he replied: “We have that agreement in place, that we know the situation regarding the two of us. We have it planned that we will have as minimal contact as possible.”

The Judge then said that after being given a “personal assurance” from Duffy that he would leave the event if Reynolds was present, she was prepared to relax bail to allow him to stay overnight in Donegal.