Darren Glesson pleads guilty to IRA membership charge

A Dublin man has admitted at the non-jury Special Criminal Court to being a member of the IRA.

Darren Gleeson (34), with an address at Corduff Green, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15, pleaded guilty today to 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 18th, 2017.

The accused man’s trial was due to open today. However, Paul Greene SC, defending, told the court that his client could instead be re-arraigned on the charge.

When the registrar read the indictment to Gleeson and asked him how he was pleading, he replied, “Guilty”.

Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy, presiding, sitting with Judge Sinéad Ní Chúlacháin and Judge Cormac Dunne, remanded Gleeson in custody until November 14th, when he will be sentenced.

With many thanks to: Irish Republican Prisoners News. 

End the EXTRADITION of Irish Republicans

Judge wants more information on strip searching in Damian McLaughlin extradition case

A High Court judge is seeking further information on strip searches in a North of Ireland prison before deciding whether to extradite a 40-year-old Belfast man wanted there in connection with the murder of prison officer David Black.

Mr Damien Joseph McLaughlin, with an address at Glenties Rd, Belfast, was arrested in County Donegal last March on foot of a European Arrest Warrant issued by Northern Ireland authorities.

He is wanted to face allegations that he aided and abetted in the murder of David Black on November 1st, 2012, and was in possession of an article suspected of being for the commission of the act of murder.

Mr Black, a 52-year-old father of two, was shot dead on the M1 motorway by dissident republicans as he drove to work in Maghaberry jail.

Mr McLaughlin is also charged with engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism and of being a member of a proscribed organisation. The maximum penalties applicable to each of the four offences are ten years, 15 years and two penalties of life imprisonment.

Previously, his barrister, David Leonard BL, claimed his client’s constitutional right and his right under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights not to be subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment would be breached by virtue of the prison conditions he would be subject to in Maghaberry prison in the North of Ireland on surrender.

Mr Leonard said that the full-body searches (strip-searches) which took place in Maghaberry and also in conjunction with the background of controlled movement within the prison, reached the threshold of inhuman and degrading treatment.

High Court judge Ms Aileen Donnelly delivered her written judgement today, where she said she rejected the contention that restrictions on movement amounted to inhuman or degrading treatment.

Ms Justice Donnelly said she also rejected the respondent’s claim that he would be at real risk of being exposed to inhuman and degrading treatment because of the manner in which the strip-searches will be carried out.

However, the judge said the question of whether there is a necessity for a full-body search in light of improvements in technology was a separate issue. “The main evidence before me as to a lack of justification for these strip-searches is that technology exists to resolve the necessity for full-body searches,” she said.

She said the court also had credible evidence before it from information provided to a Joint Oireachtas Committee from highly respected persons that Portlaoise Prison operated technology which meant full-body searches were no longer required.

“This information questions whether full-body searches ie strip-searches are necessary in the absence of an indication by the technology,” she said.

The judge said she was entitled to rely upon the evidence presented to the Oireachtas Committee as a credible source of information for the purposes of assessing general conditions in which republican prisoners are held in Maghaberry. She said it amounted to “objective, reliable, specific and updated information” that rebutted the presumption that full-body searches were necessary on entry and exit to Maghaberry prison due to available technology.

“This means that the general conditions in Roe House (at Maghaberry prison) in so far as they relate to strip-searching raise a real risk that this respondent could be subjected to inhuman and degrading conditions on surrender,” she said.

Ms Justice Donnelly asked that further information be obtained in this jurisdiction and from the North of Ireland to show that this technology is limited or that there are specific reasons why strip-searching on entering and leaving the prison are necessary, or that Mr McLaughlin will not be subject to such strip-searching on each individual occasion he enters and leaves the prison.

The judge requested the Minister for Justice to provide her with “any relevant information” about the technology in use in this jurisdiction and she also requested further information from the UK.

A resumed hearing will take place on November 21 and Mr McLaughlin was remanded in custody until that date.

With many thanks to: Irish Republican Prisoner News. 

Brian Walsh and Darren Polean plead “guilty” to offences linked to bomb found in Derry hotel.

Two men from Co Meath have admitted to terrorist offences linked to the discovery of a bomb at a Londonderry hotel which was due to host a PSNI recruitment event.

Darren Polean, who is 42 years old and from Lightown in Drumbaragh, and 34-year-old Brian Walsh from Culmullen in Drumree, appeared at Belfast Crown Court on Thursday.

Barristers for both men asked that they be re-arraigned on offences arising from the discovery of explosives at the Waterfoot Hotel in Derry in October 2015.

The pair initially faced, and denied, four charges leveled against them.

After pleading guilty to two offences,the remaining two charges faced by Polean and Walsh were left on the books, and are not to be proceeded with.

After the court clerk read a charge of possessing an explosive substance with intent to endanger life or cause serious injury to property on October 6, 2015, she then asked both men how they pleaded.

Both men replied “guilty”.

They also admitted a charge of possessing articles for use in terrorism, on the same date, ‘in circumstances which give rise to a reasonable suspicion that their possession was for a purpose connected to the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism’.

The articles in question include a Satellite Navigation System, bolt cutters, a balaclava, binoculars, assorted gloves, handheld two-way radios, disguises, a head torch and plastic adhesive tape.

When this charge was put to the two men,they again replied “guilty”.

Crown barrister Terence Mooney QC told Judge Geoffery Miller QC that the pleas “satisfied the interests of justice” and agreed to leave the remaining two counts on the books.

They were possessing explosives in suspicious circumstances, and conspiring to cause an explosion.

Karen Quinlivan, representing Walsh, said she was seeking both a pre-sentence report and a medical report ahead of sentencing.

Judge Miller remanded both men back into custody and confirmed a plea and sentence hearing will be held at the same court on 7 September.

With many thanks to: Irish Republican Prisoner News.

Taken from UTV News

Michael Connolly, Co. Louth “Guilty” on IRA membership charges.

A 44-year-old Louth man has been convicted of IRA membership by the Special Criminal Court.

Michael Connolly, of Grange Drive in Dundalk, had been observed driving in convoy with another man, who was then found with two improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

Connolly had 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.

The three-judge, non-jury court had heard that Connolly and another man were seen together in the Ardee area that morning. They left the same house at the same time in two cars, and were then observed at a service station in Clonmellon, before both cars travelled in convoy to Mullingar.

The two men were later stopped by members of the Special Detective Unit on the N52 and two IEDs were found in a brown paper bag in the other man’s car.

There was also telephone contact between the two men that morning.

The judges had heard that the accused had failed to answer material questions when interviewed under a provision that allows for inferences to be drawn from such a failure.

The court had also heard ‘belief evidence’ from Garda Assistant Commissioner Michael O’Sullivan that Connolly was a member of the IRA at the time.

The prosecution had argued that Connolly and this man had engaged in a joint enterprise on the day.

The defence had argued that there was no other evidence to support the belief evidence and asked for an acquittal.

However, Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding, sitting with Judge John O’Hagan and Judge Flann Brennan delivered a guilty verdict this morning.

Justice Hunt said the court accepted beyond reasonable doubt the veracity of the belief evidence, which had been informed by a review of information held by gardai.

It was also satisfied that the accused was the driver of the same car at all times that morning and had travelled in convoy with another man to a house in Mullingar. It was satisfied that the other man had collected the improvised devices there and that the accused was a willing and knowing participant in this enterprise.

The judge then addressed the possibility that he was operating in some capacity other than as a member of the IRA that morning.

Although Connolly had consistently denied being a member during his interviews, the court noted that he had stayed silent following specific questions. Justice Hunt said that it was proper to draw inferences from this, and that the silence corroborated the other strands of evidence.

He was convicted and remanded in custody for sentencing on July 10th.

With many thanks to: Irish Republican News.

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.