Papers seized by police ‘had details of internal IRA security review’

Suspected terrorist documents seized by police in Belfast contained details on 19 people as part of an alleged internal security review by a dissident republican grouping, the High Court has heard.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 26th June 2019, 3:22 pm

Prosecutors said the typed pages questioned why some individuals linked to Oglaigh na hEireann were arrested but not subsequently convicted.

Details emerged as a man accused of having that material faced fresh claims of storing more notes discovered under a bed at his home last week.

The 52-year-old defendant, who cannot be identified due to reporting restrictions, was granted bail.

He is charged with possessing records likely to be of use to terrorists.

A Crown lawyer said the hand-written notes police found under the mattress on June 18 included information on suspected Oglaigh na hEireann members and activities.

She contended that the discovery breached conditions imposed when the accused was released on a similar charge earlier this year.

A folder with nine typed pages was recovered after a car was stopped and searched in Belfast earlier this year, the court was told.

According to the prosecution the material related to 19 people - 10 of them said to be “of significance”, and the others either relatives or associates.

“It is believed all the pages found were in relation to this individual security review, and highlighted all of the cases these people had been arrested for terrorist offences,” the Crown lawyer said.

The documents allegedly raised questions if any of the individuals had, unlike co-accused, avoided conviction.

Denying the hand-written notes seized last week was new information, the accused claimed it had been missed during the first search.

But prosecution counsel said police do not accept his explanation that they had overlooked the material.

“In the extremely unlikely event that it was, why did he take it with him rather than destroying it, why keep it secret under his mattress?” she asked.

She confirmed the accused has been warned of a threat against him, but said this is believed to have come from an individual linked to a dissident republican organisation.

Opposing bail, the barrister contended that he was “absolutely determined to continue with these activities that put the public and, to some degree, himself at very great risk”.

Sean Devine, defending, told the court his client was prone to making notes as a way of organising this thoughts.

He suggested that any track record of individuals “being able to walk away from allegations” could point to them being intelligence assets, potentially raising questions of entrapment in an unconnected case.

Mr Devine disputed claims the accused poses a threat, describing him as “completely isolated”.

Granting bail under strict conditions, Mr Justice Colton ordered: “He’s not to either make or possess any further notes of the type that have given rise to these matters.”