Real IRA

Real IRA
Dissident republicans

Monday, April 29, 2013

Breaking news, Dissident Republicans, Real IRA, The IRA, charges, convictions

Facial mappers used photograph comparison techniques to identify a masked man accused of being the lead flag bearer in a republican parade, a judge has heard.

Facial map 'IDs republican parader'
The accused denies the charge.
Opening the Diplock, no jury trial against 43-year-old Patrick John McDaid at Belfast Crown Court on Monday, prosecuting QC Terence Mooney said it was the Crown case that McDaid and the masked flag bearer were "one and the same".

McDaid, from Beechwood Avenue in Londonderry, denies a single charge of managing a meeting in support of a proscribed organisation, namely the IRA on 25 April 2011.

Mr Mooney described how a masked colour party carrying various flags headed up a parade at the city cemetery close to the graves of republicans during an Easter Monday commemoration, organised by the 32 County Sovereign Movement where a speech was made by a masked man on behalf of the Real IRA and Óglaigh na hÉireann (OnH).

The lawyer told the court the colour party, "attired in apparently military uniform", had been driven to and from the cemetery in the back of a van which had been driven by 51-year-old Marvin Canning.

Last week Canning, who is a brother-in-law of deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and from Galliagh Park in the Maiden City, pleaded guilty to the same charge but walked free from court after his ten-month jail term was suspended for three years.

Pleading guilty alongside him was fellow Derry man 30-year-old Frank Quigley from Elmwood Road whose nine month jail term was also suspended for three years.

Mr Mooney told Judge McFarland that police footage of the commemoration, along with footage seized from various news outlets, was sent to an expert facial comparison company.

Comparing photographs of McDaid taken when he attended the commemoration in previous years in 2007 and 2009, an expert had opined that "his examination lent moderate support to the view that the two persons were the same".

In addition to that evidence, said the lawyer, police had seized documents from a man's home in follow-up searches which seemed to have been written out in preparation for the commemoration.

"The significant part, we say, in support of the identification, we say of the main flag bearer reads: 'colour party - McDaid to get people sorted'," claimed Mr Mooney.

"We respectfully say that the evidence supports the conclusion that the man who is masked and carrying the Tricolour is this defendant."

The trial continues.

Pipe Bombs

Ordering 31-year-old Anthony Thomas Friel to spend half his sentence in jail and half on supervised licence, Belfast Crown Court Judge David McFarland said the evidence clearly showed he was a "facilitator" and added that is "an important cog in the chain of these criminal and terrorist gangs".

Earlier he had heard that covert police had been keeping a flat on Maureen Avenue under surveillance and had watched as Friel came and went.

A prosecuting lawyer told the court that when cops raided the flat on 21 May last year, they uncovered three "large" pipe bombs, timer power units and component bomb parts as well as bomb making equipment including an eye shield and visor, a mini rotary tool kit, drill bits, a heat gun, various tools and electrical material, berets, worksuits, gloves, plastic boxes, Bentley electronic timer instructions, batteries and duct tape.

He told the court that essentially the property was void of all the usual things one would find in a lived-in property such as food and furniture, adding that it was the Crown case the property was being used as a store for the potentially lethal devices.

Forensic examinations of the flat uncovered Friel's DNA on gloves, a jacket and a cigarette butt and his fingerprints on the inside of the front door.

He was arrested later on 21 May and when he was searched, officers found the keys to the flat in his pocket.

During later interviews Friel, from Gartan Square in the Maiden City, offered no explanation for his involvement but later pleaded guilty to possessing the explosives with intent to endanger life and also possessing articles for use in terrorism under suspicious circumstances.

Defence QC Eilis McDermott said the fact that none of Friel's DNA or fingerprints were found on the actual items themselves indicated that he was not involved in their construction but rather was just a storeman for the explosives.

Handing down the nine-year jail term, Judge McFarland said a factor to be taken into account was the prevalence of the use of pipe bombs in recent years, particularly in Derry and also that Friel had not offered any explanation as to his involvement.

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