Special non-jury diplock court to rule on whether IRA membership case will proceed.

The judges at the Special Criminal Court trial of a Louth man accused of IRA membership will rule tomorrow on whether the case can go any further.
Michael Connolly (44) of Grange Drive in Dundalk, County Louth, has pleaded not guilty to membership of an unlawful organisation, styling itself Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the Irish

Republican Army, otherwise the IRA on December 16th, 2014.
It is the prosecution’s case that Mr Connolly was observed by Gardaí driving in convoy along the N52 with a man who was later found with two improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
Mr Hugh Hartnett SC, defending, today made an application to the court for a direction that the evidence was insufficient and contained “internal frailties”.
Mr Hartnett said that when the prosecution opened the case, Fiona Murphy BL told the three-judge, non-jury court that it would hear evidence from Garda Assistant Commissioner Michael O’Sullivan of his belief that Mr Connolly was a member of the IRA on the date in question.
The barrister said there were “defects” in relation to the assistant commissioner’s opinion and this opinion was now “flawed”.
Mr Hartnett added that Ms Murphy also said in her opening speech that supporting evidence for the assistant commissioner’s belief would come in a number of forms. Mr Hartnett said evidence had been given of Mr Connolly being present at commemorations and demonstrations in the company of people who had previously been convicted of crimes before the Special Criminal Court.
The barrister said the court could not find, even on the balance of probabilities, that the presence of Mr Connolly at these events was a sign of him being a member of an unlawful organisation.
Mr Hartnett said another piece of evidence relied on by the prosecution was the finding of two IEDs in a brown paper bag in the front passenger footwell of another man’s car.
The court previously heard that the two men were seen together in the Ardee area, leaving the same house at the same time in two cars, and then at a service station in Clonmel, before both cars travelled in convoy to Mullingar.
The barrister said there was no evidence before the court that his client had possession of or knowledge of this material.
Prosecuting counsel, Fiona Murphy BL, said the assistant commissioner’s evidence had to be viewed in its entirety.
“The prosecution case is that Mr Connolly was acting in concert with with [another man]. He is also associating with people in the open air who have been convicted of IRA membership,” said Ms Murphy.
Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding with Judge John O’Hagan and Judge Flann Brennan, told counsel that what Mr Hartnett had pointed to was of “sufficient substance” and if there were to be closing speeches they would be dealt with tomorrow.

With many thanks to: Irish Republican Prisoner News.

More ridiculous membership charges today as Gardaí continue to abuse their postion.


Darren Gleeson was today arrested and charged with IRA membership at an out-of-hours court sitting 
A Dublin man has been charged with IRA membership at an out-of-hours sitting of the three-judge Special Criminal Court.
Darren Gleeson (34), with an address at Corduff Green, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15, is charged with membership of an unlawful organisation, to wit an organisation styling itself as the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the IRA, within the State on May 18, 2017.
Mr Gleeson was arrested and brought before the non-jury Special Criminal Court this evening and charged with the offence.
Detective Garda Sean Finnegan, of the Special Detective Unit, told the three-judge court that he identified himself to Mr Gleeson at 15.50pm on Mellows Road, Finglas today and arrested him under section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act.
Det Gda Finnegan said he conveyed Mr Gleeson to Finglas Garda Station. He said the Director of Public Prosecutions had directed that Mr Gleeson be brought before the next sitting of the Special Criminal Court.
Det Gda Finnegan said he met with Mr Gleeson in the confines of the Criminal Courts of Justice building today, handed him a copy of the charge sheet and explained the charge to him. Mr Gleeson made no reply.
Wearing a blue and black Adidas tracksuit top and grey tracksuit bottoms, the accused stood up and said “yes” when asked if he was Darren Gleeson.
Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding alongside Judge John O’Hagan and Judge Flann Brennan, remanded Mr Gleeson in custody to May 25 next when an application for bail is expected to be made.

With many thanks to: Irish Republican Prisoner News.

Garda did not see any alleged attempts to “extract” IRA accused through car window.


A Special Detective Unit garda has said he did not see any alleged attempts to extract a Louth man accused of IRA membership through a car window during his arrest.
Detective Garda Paul Cornish, of the Special Detective Unit (SDU), was responding to a suggestion by Hugh Hartnett SC, defending, that there had been attempts made to remove the accused Michael Connolly (44) through a Fiat Punto’s window.
Det Gda denied that the word “extracted” in his statement meant something more than opening the car door, saying he had been “facing forward” as driver of an unmarked garda vehicle and didn’t see Mr Connolly exit the Punto.
Mr Connolly, of Grange Drive in Dundalk, County Louth, has pleaded not guilty at the Special Criminal Court to membership of an unlawful organisation, styling itself Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the Irish Republican Army, otherwise the IRA on December 16th, 2014.
It is the prosecution’s case that the accused was observed by gardai driving in convoy along the road with a man who was later found with two improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
Det Gda Cornish told Fiona Murphy BL, prosecuting, that he had been briefed about alleged IRA activities involving the movement of firearms and explosives in December 2014.
The detective said he was driving an unmarked garda car when he and colleagues stopped two vehicles travelling in convoy on the Ardee Road on December 16, 2014.
He reiterated under cross examination that the word “extracted” had the same meaning as “taken out of” or “removed from” in his understanding.
The non-jury trial resumes on Monday in front of Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding, sitting with Judge John O’Hagan and Judge Flann Brennan.

With many thanks to: Irish Republican Prisioner News.

IRA accused made no response to certain material questions, trial hears.

The Special Criminal Court trial of a Monaghan man charged with IRA membership has heard memos of garda interviews with the accused.

Jim Smyth (44), with an address at Aghalissabeagh, Scotstown, County Monaghan has pleaded not guilty to membership of an unlawful organization, styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the IRA, on November 25th, 2015.
Opening the prosecution case on Monday, Shane Costello SC, for the DPP, said the court will hear evidence that on the day of the alleged offence, a few hours before Mr Smyth was arrested, there was a meeting convened by senior gardai at Monaghan garda station.
He said that Detective Chief Superintendent Tom Maguire, of the Special Detective Unit, briefed the other officers on confidential information in relation to the activities of Mr Smyth, and that an operation was put into effect that night.
The court will hear that gardai went to land around two derelict houses at Knockatallon, County Monaghan.
The barrister said that Detective Garda Alan O’Connor will give evidence that he observed the accused man getting out of a car and walking up a “dark, muddy laneway” at approximately 9:25pm.
The court will also hear evidence that Detective Sergeant Gerry Doherty encountered the accused man and arrested him.
Another part of the prosecution case will be interviews conducted with Mr Smyth under Section 2 of the Offences Against the State Act, portions of which were read into evidence today.
The section allows a court to draw inferences from a suspected person’s failure or refusal to answer questions regarding alleged IRA membership.
Mr Costello said the court will hear that with regard to certain questions, Mr Smyth said he was not a member of the IRA but with regard to specific items found after the arrest he declined to answer.
Reading portions of Mr Smyth’s interviews with gardaí into evidence today, Anne-Marie Lawlor BL, stated Mr Smyth replied “no” when asked by gardaí if he was a quartermaster in the IRA.
During interview seven conducted on November 27, 2015, Mr Smyth made no response when asked whether a particular laneway accessed an IRA storage dump.
When asked if he accessed a particular shed in his capacity as a member of the IRA, Mr Smyth made no response.
When asked if he was responsible for storing items in the shed, he made no response.
When asked whether particular houses were used as a forward operating base for attacks in Northern Ireland, Mr Smyth made no response.
When asked whether the houses were used as a rendezvous point, he made no response.
Mr Smyth was reminded that he was being asked questions material to alleged membership of an unlawful organisation and a judge or jury may draw inferences and treat a failure to answer questions as corroboration. When asked if he understood, he made no response.
The trial resumes tomorrow in front of Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy, presiding, sitting with Judge Sinéad Ní Chúlacháin and Judge James Faughnan

With many thanks to: Irish Republican Prisoner News.

Happy Birthday Tony Taylor – We hope this nightmare end soon. And you are back home with your wife & family very soon.

      

             #FreeTonyTaylor

Today is Tony Taylor’s birthday, another birthday away from his wife and family, another birthday interned without charge or trial. Happy birthday to you a chara and we sincerely hope that this is your very last birthday in Maghaberry and that you are out having belated celebrations very soon with your loved ones.
With many thanks to: Irish Republican Prisoner News.

Arrest of Jim Smyth on trial for IRA membership legal, court rules.

The Special Criminal Court has ruled that a Monaghan man who was allegedly using his land for IRA activities was arrested legally.
Jim Smyth (44), with an address at Aghalissabeagh, Scotstown, County Monaghan has pleaded not guilty to membership of an unlawful organization, styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the IRA, on November 25th, 2015.
It is the prosecution’s case that Mr Smyth was using his own land and land belonging to his mother-in-law for IRA activities.
Mr Smyth’s legal team had argued that his arrest was illegal because he had been arrested for the “same offence” earlier that year, on January 29th.
The court had heard that on the night of the alleged offence, gardai were on land in Co Monaghan, which they suspected Mr Smyth was using for IRA activities, when he was seen walking along a dark and muddy lane beside two derelict houses.
Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy, presiding, said today the court was satisfied there was no connection between the investigation into Mr Smyth’s alleged activities on the date in question and the earlier arrest, also on suspicion of IRA membership.
The trial continues in front of Ms Justice Kennedy, sitting with Judge Sinéad Ní Chúlacháin and Judge James Faughnan.

With many thanks to: Irish Republican Prisoner News.

A Monaghan man accused of IRA membership was using his mother-in-law’s land for dissident activity, the Special Criminal Court has heard.

Jim Smyth (44), with an address at Aghalissabeagh, Scotstown, County Monaghan has pleaded not guilty to membership of an unlawful organization, styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the IRA, on November 25th, 2015.

Today’s evidence was heard as part of a voir dire – or “trial within a trial” – and will help the court’s three judges to decide on a legal issue.
Paul Greene SC, for Mr Smyth, had indicated that the defence is challenging the legality of the accused man’s arrest.
Detective Chief Superintendent Tom Maguire, of the Special Detective Unit, told prosecuting counsel Shane Costello SC that he convened a meeting in Monaghan Garda Station on the day of the alleged offence.
He said he informed the other officers that Mr Smyth was using his land and land belonging to his mother-in-law at Knockatallon, County Monaghan, for IRA activities.
The court heard that Mr Smyth had been arrested before, on January 29th, also on suspicion of IRA membership, and that he had been released without charge.
The chief supt said the previous arrest was “totally separate” from the new investigation, which had “nothing whatsoever” to do with the arrest in January.
The court heard that after the meeting, gardai from the Special Detective and Crime and Security Units went to the lands at Knockatallon to carry out a search.
Detective Sergeant Gerard O’Doherty told the court that at the meeting, he had been informed that the lands at Knockatallon were being used for IRA activity and Mr Smyth was “instrumental” in that activity.
The detective said that at 8:30pm, at Knockatallon, he made his way toward derelict houses at the top of a laneway.
He said that it was “wet underfoot”, “very boggy” and “pitch black”.
The court heard that the detective was informed at 9pm a man was making his way up the laneway.
The detective said that he observed the man approach and confronted him at the entrance to derelict houses, before drawing his official firearm and illuminating the man with the light on his gun.
Det Sgt O’Dohertty said that the man gave his name as Jim Smyth.
The detective asked Mr Smyth where he was coming from, the court heard, and the accused man said, “Mass”.
He was asked what he was doing there and said he was there to see his horses.
The detective said, “It didn’t make logical sense to me, a man walking up that laneway. It was very dark and overgrown with trees. He had a flashlight in his pocket, he wasn’t using it.”
The court heard that the detective then arrested Mr Smyth on suspicion of IRA membership.
Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy, presiding, sitting with Judge Sinéad Ní Chúlacháin and Judge James Faughnan, will rule tomorrow afternoon on the legality of the arrest.

With many thanks to: Irish Republican Prisioner News.