Two Londonderry men have gone on trial on a terrorist-related offence linked to an Easter Rising commemoration in the City Cemetery which was addressed by a masked man.
Ciaran Anthony Boyle, 30, and 53-year-old Anthony Michael Lancaster are charged with assisting in arranging or managing a meeting which they knew was to be addressed by a person who belonged or professed to belong to a proscribed organisation, namely the IRA.
Outlining the Crown case against the duo at Belfast Crown Court, a prosecuting barrister said the charge arose from an event in the City Cemetery on Easter Monday – April 9, 2012 – which was held by the 32 County Sovereignty Movement.
Judge Sandra Crawford, who is presiding over the non-jury Diplock trial, was told it was the Crown’s case that both Boyle and Lancaster assisted in the management of the meeting, which was addressed by a masked man who made a speech on behalf of ONH/the Real IRA.
Lancaster, from Circular Road in the Creggan area of Londonderry, was described in court as being the master of ceremonies at the event while co-accused Boyle, from The Meadows, is accused of raising and lowering the Irish flag.
Both men deny the terrorist offence levelled against them.
During the Crown’s opening, the prosecution played aerial footage of the event which was taken from a police helicopter, as well as footage taken at ground level, which shows various incidents including a masked man giving a speech.
The balaclava-clad man gave a speech on behalf of ONH/the Real IRA in which he stated that the IRA would continue to attack ‘Crown force personnel’ as well as ‘British interests and infrastructures’.
The court was told that the event to commemorate the 1916 Easter Rising began when a procession led by a colour party wearing black berets bearing the 32 SCM logo walked from Iniscarn Crescent to the cemetery.
The procession stopped at the republican plot where a gazebo and podium had been erected, and the prosecutor said it was the Crown’s case that “both defendants are in the area of the podium and gazebo and are assisting in the management of the meeting”.
The prosecutor also said that after watching the footage of the incident, it “can be inferred” that both Lancaster and Boyle “had knowledge” that a masked man was going to emerge from the gazebo and give a speech.