Court dismisses appeals from IRA trio
on 30/07/2012 18:24:18
In November 2010, Gerard McGarrigle (aged 47), Desmond Donnelly (aged 59) and Jim Murphy (aged 62) were convicted of membership of an illegal organisation styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh na hÉireann, otherwise the IRA on February 22 of the same year.
McGarrigle, of Mount Carmel Heights, Strabane, Co Tyrone, was jailed for five years by the Special Criminal Court while Donnelly, of Drumall, Lisnarick, Co Fermanagh and Murphy, of Floraville, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh were each sentenced to three years and nine months.
All three appealed against their convictions.
Today the three Judge CCA comprised of Mr Justice Donal O'Donnell, presiding, sitting with Mr Justice George Birmingham and Mr Justice Gerard Hogan, dismissed all ground of the three men's appeals.
The three men were arrested at a Garda checkpoint outside Letterkenny in the early hours of February 22, 2010.
Gardaí uncovered an imitation firearm, cable ties, latex gloves, bin liners, a pair of kevlar gloves and insulation tape after a search of the vehicle the men were travelling in.
The accused men told gardaí that they had driven to Letterkenny in the hope of securing security work at a nightclub in the vicinity of Port Road.
Lawyers for Gerard McGarrigle claimed his arrest was unlawful as insufficient information had been conveyed to him about why he was being arrested, such as the time and place he was alleged to be a member of an illegal organisation.
It was also argued that the court should not have admitted the belief evidence of Chief Superintendent Michael O'Sullivan that the three men were members of an illegal organisation on February 22, 2010 as it was based on anonymous and untested statements made outside of the court.
It was further argued that the Special Criminal Court erred in principle in determining that McGarrigle's failure to answer material questions relating to his arrest was corroborative of other evidence against him.
Lawyers for Donnelly, and Murphy submitted that the conviction should be quashed on grounds including that the Special Criminal Court had erred by admitting the belief evidence of a Garda Chief Superintendent O'Sullivan that they were members of an illegal organisation.
Giving the courts judgment Mr Justice O'Donnell held that the Special Criminal Court had not erred and that the appeals should be dismissed. The CCA was satisfied that Mr McGarrigle was lawfully arrested for membership.
The Court was further satisfied that Special Criminal Court was entitled to admit the belief evidence of the Garda Chief Superintendent.