Explosives accused gets bail to attend Christening

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A Co Down man awaiting trial for “dissident republican terrorist activity’’ was granted compassionate bail on Friday to attend a Christening service at the weekend.

Sean Ruddy (39), of Burren Meadow, Newcastle, is currently on remand accused of possessing explosives with intent to endanger life and in suspicious circumstances.

The charges relate to January 31, 2014 when he and a co-accused Sean McGaw (26) of Mount Eagles Square, Dunmurry in west Belfast, were arrested by police at White Rise, Dunmurry over the discovery of a “pipe bomb type improvised explosive device, four modified lengths of pipe and steel bolt’’.

Both men denied the charges when they were arraigned last month.

A prosecution lawyer told Belfast Crown Court that police were objecting to the compassionate bail application on the grounds of the “risk of reoffending’’

“The accused and another person were found on January 31, 2014 to be in possession of a pipe bomb and component parts.’’

At a previous hearing, a court heard that on that date, police saw a Nissan Qashqai car drive in and park at White Rise.

A detective told the court that while police were speaking to Megaw at the car, they saw Ruddy coming from a property.

“He was asked to stop but seemed startled and ran,” said the policewoman.

Officers saw Ruddy “take a black bag from his coat and throw it over the hedge” where it made a “metallic sound”.

Ruddy was stopped a short distance away and allegedly told police that “there was a pipe-bomb in the car”.

A search of the Nissan car found nothing, however, a “viable pipe-bomb device” was found around seven feet from the vehicle.

The officer said that while officers were talking to Ruddy, Megaw threw the bomb away.

Inside the bag allegedly discarded by Ruddy, officers uncovered “four pipes of various lengths, engineered component parts for pipe-bombs”.

During Friday’s bail application, the prosecution told the court: “The Crown view is that the pipe bomb and component parts were to be used by the accused to further the activities of dissident republican terrorists.’’

However, the prosecutor said “police do not feel there is a risk of flight’’ and that if Ruddy was released on bail the court should impose stringent conditions.

Defence QC Terry McDonald told Belfast Recorder Judge David McFarland that the accused had been in custody since his arrest.

He added that he was seeking compassionate bail to attend the Christening of his godson this Sunday at the Church Our Lady of the Assumption in Newcastle and would be collected and returned to jail by his wife.

Judge McFarland granted the compassionate bail application and said Ruddy would be released on strict conditions.

He stated that the defendant was to be collected by his wife from Maghaberry jail at 9 am on Sunday, Febuary 1, and to remain in her presence throughout the day.

“On his arrival in Newcastle he must report to the police station and answer his bail. He will then attend the Christening service at 12 noon and return to his Burren Meadow home.

“At 3pm he is to report to Newcastle police station to answer his bail and then return forthwith to HMP Maghaberry.’’

Ruddy was banned from consuming alcohol while out on bail and his wife was ordered to sign a surety of £500.