Charges brought against prominent republican Marian Price, over her role in an Easter Rising commemoration in Londonderry last year, have been dismissed by a judge.
The 57-year-old, also know by her married name McGlinchey and from Stockman’s Avenue in Belfast, had been facing charges of managing and taking part in a meeting in support of a proscribed organisation last April.
She was charged alongside three Derry men – 42-year-old Paddy McDaid from Sackville Court, Frank Quigley, 29 and from Elmwood Road, and 50-year-old Marvin Canning from Glendara.
All four were due to face a preliminary enquiry on Thursday morning, but defence solicitors for the men said that they had not received any related papers.
A defence barrister for Marian Price, who did not appear, said that his client had been judged unfit to travel and that her condition had deteriorated and she had been deemed unfit even to appear by video link.
A barrister for the prosecution said that the papers were almost ready and requested a short adjournment.
The defence then made an application that District Judge Barney McElholm should refuse to return the four for trial due to the delays in the prosecution case.
Mr. David Herrity for Price said his client was “severely depressed” due to her incarceration and may not be fit to attend for some time.
Judge McElholm said if it was just a matter of Price’s illness, her case could be separated from the rest but the fact that there were no papers in the other cases was concerning him.
He described the case against the four as “straightforward” and added: “I have seen cases where there are complicated forensics take less time.”
The judge said that he had limited powers in cases like this, but added: “If I do not use what teeth I have, I may as well sit back and allow the prosecution to dictate the pace.”
He said that everyone was entitled to a fair trial within a reasonable period of time.
The barrister for the prosecution requested a two-week adjournment to allow the papers to be finalised.
But Judge McElholm said he was not granting any further adjournments and, as there was no evidence before him, he was not returning the four for trial.
He said Price’s case was different, but told the three men who appeared in front of him that they were free to go.
Price remains in custody, as she also faces a separate charge of providing property for the purposes of terrorism in relation to the murders of two soldiers at Massereene in 2009. She denies the charge.
WITH MANY THANKS TO : UTV News.
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