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Terrorism row man appears in court: Patrick Ryan charged with handling goods

PATRICK RYAN, the former priest whose extradition Britain unsuccessfully sought almost five years ago, appeared at Dublin's anti-terrorist court yesterday facing three charges of handling stolen goods including training shoes, a three-piece suit, towels and a six-berth caravan, writes Alan Murdoch.

Mr Justice Liam Hamilton, presiding in the Special Criminal Court, said it was 'hard to fathom' why the case had not been sent to a normal court.

Socks, jeans, boots, a car stereo and a tool box were all said to have passed through Mr Ryan's hands between March 1992 and April of this year.

John Rohan, assistant state solicitor, said he could not 'second guess' the Director of Public Prosecutions' reasoning in sending the case to the anti-terrorist court. He suggested more serious charges of offences against the state might follow. Mr Ryan was remanded on IR pounds 1,000 ( pounds 960) bail to appear on 5 October.

In 1988, relations between London and Dublin reached boiling point over the handling of Mr Ryan's case after he was deported from Belgium, where he had gone on hunger strike rather than face British courts. Britain wanted to try him for conspiracy to murder and cause explosions, and for possession of explosives. No extradition application was heard.