35 security agents set to appear in Real IRA trial

24 October 2009
Belfast Telegraph

Thirty-five service agents are to give evidence in the trial of three County Armagh men arrested after an MI5 sting operation against the Real IRA, a court has heard. As the trio pleaded not guilty to the charges at Belfast Crown Court yesterday, a lawyer for the prosecution revealed they have applied for a ruling that the agents can give their evidence anonymously and from behind screens.
It was also revealed that recordings of 90 hours of bugged conversations will be played at the trial which is expected to last up to three months after its scheduled opening next April. Paul Anthony John McCaugherty (43) from Beech Court in Lurgan is denying a total of seven charges.

An earlier court hearing heard the charges relate to what police believe was a gun smuggling operation.

McCaugherty is charged with conspiring to possess firearms and explosives and using 46,000 euro in Bruges and Amsterdam for the purposes of terrorism. He's also accused of membership of a proscribed organisation described in court as “The Irish Republican Army”. McCaugherty is also charged with entering into an arrangement to make the deeds of a restaurant in Alvor in Portugal available for the purposes of terrorism.

Dermot Declan Gregory (41), aka Michael Dermot, from Concession Road in Crossmaglen faces a similar charge in relation to the Portuguese restaurant.

Desmond Paul Kearns (44) from Tannaghmore Green in Lurgan is charged with conspiring to possess firearms and explosives. All offences are alleged to have happened between May 23 2005 and June 20 2006.

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