Colin Duffy, Alec McMcrory, and Harry Fitzsimmons appeared in court this week accused of paramilitary offences. No details were given of the evidence against them. However, it is understood that all three have been under a lengthy period of sophisticated surveillance with MI5 assisting the PSNI/RUC in tracking their movements. The levels of monitoring were unprecedented in scale and included the placing of tiny listening devices in items of clothing. Tracking devices were also used and open spaces – including a green in Co Armagh were Duffy (46) was known to frequently walk – were fitted with hidden spying technology. Gardai have also been assisting the PSNI/RUC as part of a cross-border crackdown on dissidents, monitoring suspects when they travelled to the Republic.
A house in Co Louth visited by Duffy and former IRA prisoner McCrory (52) is believed to have been under surveillance and fitted with listening devices. Under Home Office guidelines authorisation for ‘intrusive ssurveillance’ must be given by the secretary of state and can be granted for periods of six months at a time, providing its use is in the interests of ‘national security’. Although covertly gathered evidence has been used in the North of Ireland in the past, the monitoring surrounding Duffy is on a level never seen before. During the trial of teenager John Paul Wotton for the murder of Constable Stephen Carroll the court was told a military tracking device had been fitted to his vehicle. On Monday a workman in Craigavon, Co Armagh, found a military tracking device under the wheel arch of his van. This week Duffy, Fitzsimmons and McCrory were each charged with conspiracy to murder, conspiring to possess firearms and explosives with intent to endanger life and belonging to a proscribed organisation. McCrory and Fitzsimmons were also accused of involvement in a gun attack on Crumlin Road in North Belfast on December 5 and possession of a firearm with intent. The offences cover a period between January 1 and December 16 this year, although Fitzsimmons (45) was only freed from prison in May after serving a jail term for the attempted kidnapping of Bobby To hill in 2004. The trio did not seek bail.
With many thanks to: Allison Morris, The Irish News.
THREE of the most high-profile republicans in the North of Ireland appearing in court together was always going to attract a huge amount of attention and it was standing room only in court 10 at Belfast’sLaganside complex on Tuesday.
Co Armagh man Colin Duffy was joined in the dock by Harry Fitzsimmons, only recently released from Maghaberry Gaol after serving a sentence for abducting Bobby Tohill in 2004, along with Alec McCrory, a long-serving IRA prisoner and ‘blanket man’. The trio face a series of charges including involvement in a dissident Republican gun attack on police vehicles in North Belfast earlier this month. A Kalashnikov-style weapon was recovered during a follow-up search of the Ardoyne area following the shooting on December 5. The public gallery was packed to capacity with family members and supporters. Several loyalists charged in connection with July 12 violence appeared nervous as charges were put to them with such a large republican audience looking on. Recognisable faces among the supporters were Coalisland man Kevin Barry Murphy, North Belfast republican Brendan Conway and independent councillor Angela Nelson. Dressed casually when brought up from the court’s holding cells to the dock, the three accused remained impassive throughout the short hearing. They refused to stand while charges were read out and refused to answer when they were put to them. A detective said he could connect the accused to the offences. The men’s solicitors said they would not be applying for bail at this time. The hearing lasted less than five minutes, and as the three were taken back into custody supporters in the public gallery clapped and cheered. Magistrate Fiona Bagnall ordered the court be cleared. There was a heavy police presence outside the courthouse as the three were taken from the court to Maghaberry Gaol in a blacked-out prison van.
With many thanks to: Allison Morris, The Irish News
Arguably the most recognisable face of anti-agreement republicanism, the Co Armagh man was acquitted in January 2012 of the murder of two British soldiers at Massereene army base in Co Antrim in 2009, having served a lengthy period on remand. In 1993 he was convicted of the PIRA murder of UDA man John Lyness but was acquitted on appeal. The 47-year-old was also detained followng the IRA murders of constable David Johnson and John Graham in Lurgan in June 1997, shortly before the second IRA ceasefire but the charges were dropped due to insufficient evidence. In November last year he was arrested by detectives investigating the murder of prison officer David Black but was released without charge. His most recent arrest was in May of this year when he was qustioned about dissident republican activity before being released unconditionally. Once the most senior member of Shame Fein in the Lurgan area the hard line republican left the party prior to the decision to endorse policing. He was briefly a member of eirigi, but left the party shortly before his arrest for the Massereene attack.
The West Belfast man served two periods of imprisonment for the Provisional IRA. He was one of the youngest prisoners to join the blanket protest after being jailed in 1978 at the age of 17. He was imprisoned for a second time in the 1980s and served 14 years for possession of a bomb. In 2011 he was the first person in the North of Ireland to make an offcial complaint to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal over what he claimed were repeated attempts by MI5 to recruit him as an agent. More recently he has acted as a spokesman for republican prisoners held in Maghaberry.
HE was released from prison in May of this year after serving a jail term for the abduction of dissident Bobby Tohill in 2004 from a Belfast city centre bar. Tohill was rescued by police who rammed the van he was being carried in, he later refused to give evidence against his abductors. The event nearly jeopardized the Peace Process as the Provos were on ceasefire at the time. Fitzsimmons and his co accused went on the run in 2006 while awaiting sentencing, he was extradited to the North after being arrested in Dundalk in November 2009. While in Maghaberry he spent most of his sentence on protest against the prison regime. He was arrested last month and questioned about the murder of drug dealer Kevin Kearney but was released without charge. Since being released he had been living in North Belfast, however, after receiving death threats his address was given on Tuesday as of ‘no fixed abode’.
Just reading there about Martin Corey‘s appeal being rejected.. Absolute disgrace! More than a disgrace..
The British can jail anybody they want stating they have secret evidence that can’t be challenged in court as nobody knows what it is (barring those that invented it). We are basically second class citizins in our very own country. Martin Corey is effectively serving an indeterminate sentence.. Where are the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s “Human Rights” campaigners from Sinn Fein in all this? As Billy Hutchinson said without contradiction from John O’Dowd in “Spotlight Special”… “They’re adminstering British rule in a British parliament!” They are indeed to thier eternal shame. Brassneckng it as bit part players in a toothless sub-parliament administering the will of the 800-year-old enemy while deliberately oblivious of Human Rights abuses at home. A 63-year-old man suffers internment stretching over threeyears and forced strip searchs by sectarian goons and outflanked and clueless bluffers in Stormont do nothing but build personal wealth and portfolios.
In December 1973, Martin Corey, along with his two comrades, was found guilty of the shooting and sentenced to life imprisonment inside the H-Blocks. He was released in June 1992.
He was taken back into custody on April 16, 2010, on the basis of “closed material”. On July 9, Justice Treacy ruled that Martin Corey’s human rights had been breached and he should be released immediately on unconditional bail. This was overruled by Secretary of State, Shaun Woodward.
On July 10, the matter was referred back to the court. The matter was to be reviewed by Justice McCloskey who further stayed corey’s release until an appeal court could hear it the next day. An appeal was heard on July 11, with Justice McCloskey and Justice Morgan. That court upheld the Secretary of States’ overruling, and referred it to be heard again on September 28, 2012.
Martin Corey was granted compassionate leave to attend the funeral mass of his brother who died in May, 2012. That decision was brought to the High Court in Belfast who upheld it. Leave was eventually granted on the condition that two members of the Northern Ireland Assembly and his lifelong friend Jim McIlmurray accompany him.
‘No alternative date has been suggested or discussed with us – Jim Mcllmurray.
LURGAN republican Martin Corey, who has been interned without charge for over three years inside Maghaberry Prison since 2010 after his licence was revoked, has had his latest parolehearing canceled just days before it was due to take place.
The 63-year-old who served 19-years in prison for his part in the shooting of two RUC men in 1972 was released on licence in 1992 and worked as a grave digger prior to being arrested over three years ago. He has subsequently not been charged with any offence and despite being entitled to an annual parole hearing has not been in front of the Parole Commissioners, who decide if he should be released, for 25 months. Jim Mcllmurrey who acts as a spokesman for the Lurgan republican said his legal team was contacted on August 30 to say a parole hearing due to take place last week was once again being postponed.”No alternative date has being suggested or discussed with us,” Mr Mcllmury said. “A variety of reasons have been given for the delay, including blaming Martin himself for his legal challenges against his detention. “The European Court of Human Rights ruled in 2012 that it was uunacceptable to deny an annual parole hearing to anyone held in custody. “This ruling followed a case of a man who waited 14 months for a parole hearing, Martin Corey has now waited 25 months. The Secretary of State in a recent communication stated, ‘an individual who served a life sentence can be returned to prison if they pose a risk to the public or commits further offences.” “Since Martin’s arrest in April 2010, he has never been charged with a crime, or given any explanation as the risk he poses to the public. “He has now served the equivalent of a seven year sentence since his arrest in 2010.”
A LOYALIST paramilarary group last night threatened to take “military action” against children attending three Catholic schools in greater Belfast. A man claiming to represtant the Red Hand Defenders issued the threat using a codeword.
The group, formed in 1998, and used as cover name by both the UVF and UDA, is not thought to have been active in recent years. In 1999 it admitted responsibility for the murder of human-rights solicitor Rosemary Nelson after a bomb exploded under her car near her home in Lurgan, Co Armagh. In a statement to The Irish Newsthe group said it had “reactivated” in “response to attacks on the Protestant, Unionist and loyalist community in recent months” and would target three schools in greater Belfast. “Parents, pupils and staff who go to those schools are no longer welcome at the three schools,” it read. “Those three schools are in Protestant, unionist and loyalist areas and as our parades and people are are not welcome in nationalist areas, therefore [anything] to do with these schools will now be considered as legitimate targets.” The group said it wanted the schools to be made aware of the threat, adding: “If the message is not taken on board by the community then trouble will commence on Monday morning and military action will also commence on Monday morning.”
With many thanks to : Connla Young, The Irish News.
Prosecutors said reconnaissance was used against police and prison staff, including a governer, over a two-year period. Suspects drove past one target’s home more than 50 times in eight days, a judge was told. Details emerged as one of three men accused of a plot to bomb and killwas refused bal. Damien Duffy (43), of Campbell Walk in Lurgan, Co Armagh, is charged with conspiracy to murder, conspiring to cause an explosion and collecting iformation likely to be used to terrorists. He was arrested in May last year after a nine-month police iinvestigation involving surveillance, tracking and covert recordings. The alleged offences, stretching back to November 2009, relate to police and prison officers ‘ movements in the Lurgan and Craigavon areas, their addresses and routes taken to and from work. A prosecution barrister said audio recordings showed the Kilmore Road and Cottage Road junction in Lurgan was to be used for a mortar-bomb attack on security forces. The location is on a route regularly used by police and prison staff, the court heard. Alleged discussions between the suspects including references to lines of sight, getting angles right and breaking cover. The barrister said attack planning was carried out on two identified prison officers as they came and went to Maghaberry Prison in Co Antrim.
Lord Justice Coghlin was told that the governor’s home in a rural setting was passed several times for no apparent legitimate reason. The barrister said two of the accused scouted one officer’s home on 54 occasions – including 21 times in a 90-minute period. According to police, anti surveillance techniques and U-turns were performed. Discussions about the areas for carrying out an attack, escape routes and “giving it 20 seconds to get down there” were recorded, the court heard. It was accepted that forensic analysis of the audio recordings was unable to attribute any of the remarks to Duffy. However, the court was told independent witnesses said he had been in the car used during the alleged offences. Mark Mulholland QC, defending, said Duffy should be released due to the “paucity” of evidence and delays in processing the case. “The starting point is what can be aattributed to this accused and at no time is there any express reference to targeting, weaponry or anything of that nature,” he said. “What appears to be a case grounded principally on what can be inferred or speculated was at hand does not pass muster. “In the period of time the accused was under surveillance, whatever was being suggested by the prosecution absolutely nothing happened.” Lord Justice Coghlin said an explanation would eventually have to be given. Separating terrorist offences from other crimes, he said: “It’s nothing whatever to do with the political beliefs of those charged. “It’s to do with a very small group of people who are not prepared to take part in a democracy but wish to achieve what they beleive to be some firm of political end by killing and injuring people. “In cases of terrorism the offence is driven by a warped political ideology. Therefore there is a significantly higher risk of further offences.”