MI5 agents to testify behind screens in Real IRA trial

23 October 2009
Guardian Unlimited
Henry McDonald
MI5 officers called to give evidence against three men accused of involvement in dissident republican terrorism

Thirty-five MI5 officers are to be called to court to give evidence against three Northern Irish men accused of dissident republican terrorism. The spies will be allowed to give their evidence behind screens to protect their identities, Belfast crown court heard today. The court heard that the security forces had amassed 90 hours of bugged conversations of the accused.

Paul Anthony John McCaugherty, 43, of Lurgan, County Armagh, denies a total of seven charges, including conspiring to possess firearms and explosives and using €46,000 in Bruges and Amsterdam for the purposes of terrorism.

He is also accused of membership of a proscribed organisation, namely the Real IRA. He faces additional charges of 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, also known as Michael Dermot, of Crossmaglen, County Armagh, faces a similar charge relating to the Portuguese restaurant.

Desmond Paul Kearns, 44, of Lurgan, is charged with conspiring to possess firearms and explosives.

Mr Justice Hart was told by defence lawyers that the legal papers were "voluminous" and the taped conversations would take months to transcribe. All of the offences are alleged to have happened between 23 May 2005 and 20 June 2006. The full trial, which will begin in April, is expected to last three months.

Return to top of page Copyright © 2010 | Flash News Converted into Blogger Template by HackTutors