Lisa Smith trial to begin after court rejects bid to dismiss terror charges

The 39-year-old ex-Defence Forces soldier, from Co Louth, is accused of being a member of so-called Islamic State and financing terrorism.

James Ward
Monday 24 January 2022 11:23
Lisa Smith, accused of terrorism offences, arrives at the Special Criminal Court in Dublin. The former member of the Defence Forces is seeking to have charges of being a member of so-called Islamic State (IS) and financing terrorism dropped. Picture date: Monday January 24, 2022.
Lisa Smith, accused of terrorism offences, arrives at the Special Criminal Court in Dublin. The former member of the Defence Forces is seeking to have charges of being a member of so-called Islamic State (IS) and financing terrorism dropped. Picture date: Monday January 24, 2022.

The trial of ex-Irish Defence Forces member Lisa Smith will proceed on Tuesday after the Special Criminal Court rejected a legal application to have terror-related charges against her dropped.

The 39-year-old, from Co Louth, is accused of being a member of so-called Islamic State (IS) and financing terrorism.

The defence, led by Michael O’Higgins SC, made an application under section 4.e of the Criminal Procedure Act for the case to be dismissed on the grounds that there is not sufficient evidence to convict her on any of the charges.

Lisa Smith, accused of terrorism offences, arrives at the Special Criminal Court in Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)

This was rejected by Mr Justice Tony Hunt at the non-jury court on Monday, who said it was not possible to conclude that there was “nothing to see here” or that the case against Smith was “doomed to fail”.

He said the defence had failed to show that there was not sufficient evidence to secure a conviction.

The case will begin at 10.30am on Tuesday at the Special Criminal Court.

The pre-trial application to have the case against her thrown out was heard at the Special Criminal Court last week.

Sean Gillane SC, for the prosecution, has maintained there is enough evidence to proceed.

The details of Monday’s hearing cannot be reported by the media.

The trial is now set to go ahead and is likely to last 12 weeks.

Smith has appeared in court throughout the application, arriving on Monday in a grey coat, blue hijab and white face covering.

The case received widespread attention in 2019 when it emerged that Smith, a former Air Corps soldier who had worked on the Government jet, had been detained in Syria over alleged links to IS.

Smith was arrested at Dublin Airport in 2019 on suspicion of terrorist offences after returning from Turkey in November with her young daughter.

She had travelled to Syria a number of years ago after she converted to Islam.

Smith is charged under Section Six of the Criminal Justice (Terrorist Offences) Act 2005 which makes it an offence to join a foreign unlawful organisation.

Lisa Smith denies all charges (Niall Carson/PA)

It is alleged that between October 28 2015 and December 1 2019 at a location outside the State, she was a member of a terrorist group styling itself as the Islamic State.

She has also been accused of financing terrorism by sending 800 euro in assistance by Western Union money transfer to a named individual in 2015.

Smith has denied the charges.

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