Judge rules against suggested media ban
THREE men and two women charged with Provisional IRA membership will stand trial at Belfast Crown Court, a judge ruled yesterday.
Veteran republicans Padraic Wilson (54), whose address was given as the Sinn Fein Advice Centre on Falls Road, West BBelfast, and Seamus Finucane (56), of Hawthorn Hill, Hannahstown, were two of the five people charged with offences relating to organising a meeting on behalf of the paramilitary group. In the dock alongside them were Agnes McCrory (73), of Dermot Hill Road, Bridge Wright (56), of Glassmullin Gardens and Martin Morris (49), of Wellbeck Road in London. Morris is accused of belonging to a proscribed organisation, namely the Provisional IRA. The others are accused of Provisional IRA membership and multiple counts of organising a meeting on behalf of or in support of a proscribed organisation.
District Judge George Conner agreed that all five defendants had a case to answer and returned them for trial at Belfast Crown Court on a date to be fixed. It is alleged that all five belonged to the IRA on dates between 1997 and 2000. Originally two days had been set aside for a preliminary investigation to be held to test the strength of the prosecution case. However, following private discussions between the pprosecution and defence in judge’s chambers it was decided to proceed with a shorter hearing. The five, who are expected to plead not guilty, answered “no” when asked whether they had any comment to make. All declined to call witnesses at that stage. They were released on £250 bail to reappear in court when a date is set for the case. A ban on publishing the defendants ‘ identities was lifted in October last year. Following yesterday’s hearing the Court Service initially indicated that the reporting restrictions were being reinstated until the case reaches the crown court. However, the judge later decided against the media ban provided that an alleged victim connected to the case is not iidentified.
With many thanks to : Allison Morris, The Irish News.
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One thought on “IRA membership accused face trial”
Hmm… we need something more acceptable…