Colin Dufffy family remanded on terror charges

 

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Two brothers and a cousin of prominent dissident republican Colin Duffy have appeared in court in Northern Ireland charged with terrorism offences including conspiracy to murder.

It follows a major police investigation into dissident republican activity which was carried out in conjunction with MI5.

Colin Duffy, cleared of murdering two soldiers at Massereene army barracks in Antrim earlier this year, was in the public gallery as Lurgan men Paul John Duffy, 47, from Ailsbury Gardens, Damien Duffy, 42, from Campbell Walk, and Shane Duffy, 41, from Kilwilkie Road were led into the courtroom. It was packed with riot police and supporters who cheered shouts of encouragement.

The defendants face other charges including collecting information likely to be of use to terrorists and conspiring to cause an explosion.

Paul Duffy is also accused of directing dissident republican terrorism.

The alleged offences happened at various times between 2009 and now.

The trio were remanded in custody at Lisburn Magistrates' Court.

A detective sergeant told district judge Amanda Henderson he believed he could connect the accused to the charges, some of which took place between November 2009 and now.

Around 20 family members and supporters shouted encouragement as the accused, dressed in jeans and casual tops, were led away.

Officers clad in riot gear lined the packed courtroom and police Landrovers were stationed outside the courthouse in the centre of Lisburn.

The charges follow a police arrest operation at the suspects' homes in Lurgan, Co Armagh, part of a wider probe into alleged dissident republican activity.

Defence solicitor Joe McVeigh questioned the detective after the PSNI put out a media statement last night linking the operation to cooperation with the security services and the Public Prosecution Service.

The detective said he had no more information to give on the statement.

Mr McVeigh alleged that police questioned Paul Duffy's children on video tape, said they had breached their human rights and asked investigators to destroy the tape.

He alleged Shane Duffy's mother was also asked questions on video.

Mr McVeigh said the Nazis had subjected children to similar "degrading" treatment.

He asked: "Given that that was not acceptable in the 1940s, do the police now state in public that it is acceptable to videotape children and ask them questions in a manner that is degrading to those children?"

The detective promised to raise the matter with more senior officers.

The lawyer persisted: "The Duffy family believe that...in terms of how the searches (of their homes) were conducted and the treatment of family members, that the family is subject to persecution."

The trio were remanded in custody to reappear at Craigavon Magistrates' Court via video link on 8 June.

Meanwhile, at Omagh courthouse, three men and a woman appeared facing separate charges connected with dissident republicanism and an alleged terrorist training camp in Co Tyrone.

They were Terence Aidan Coney and Gavin Coney, both from Omagh, Sean Kelly, from Toomebridge and Sharon Rafferty from Pomeroy. They were remanded in custody.

All four are charged with engaging in conduct in preparation for committing acts of terrorism, possession of a firearm and ammunition and attending a place used for terrorist training.

Ms Rafferty and Mr Kelly are also charged with directing the activities of a terrorist organisation while Mr Kelly faces a further charge of collecting information likely to be of use to terrorists.

PA