Judge hits out over letter sent to her on behalf of Irishman facing terror charges in Lithuania

A High Court judge has said it was "totally inappropriate" that a letter was sent to her on behalf of an Irishman facing terror charges in Lithuania.

Authorities in the Baltic state want to prosecute Liam Campbell over alleged terrorism offences and trafficking of weapons to Ireland.

Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly is expected to rule on the application to extradite him later this year.

But at a hearing at the High Court, Dublin, today Ms Justice Donnelly revealed she had received direct correspondence on the matter.

She added that she believed the letter had been written on behalf of the respondent in the case, Mr Campbell.

Ms Justice Donnelly told the court that she hadn’t ”bothered reading beyond the first paragraph” of the letter as it was “totally inappropriate” to attempt “to influence a judge in dealing with a particular case”.

After the judge made the letter available to the State and the defence, Mr Campbell’s counsel, Brian Gageby told the court that he had not seen the letter in question which, according to court sources, had been sent to the judge's office.

Last year, Mr Campbell was granted bail by the court following his arrest at Upper Faughart, Dundalk Co Louth, on December 2, 2016, on foot of a European Arrest Warrant issued by Lithuanian authorities.

Mr Campbell was remanded on continuing bail until March 20.

A previous hearing was told the arrest warrant for Mr Campbell had stated that between the end of 2006 and the beginning of 2007 he had allegedly organised the preparation for the smuggling in support of the “terrorist grouping” the RIRA.

“While acting in an organised group he made arrangements for illegal possession of a considerable amount of powerful firearms, ammunition, explosive devices and substances,” according to the warrant which was endorsed by the High Court in Dublin in November 2016.

On December 2, 2016, Detective Sergeant Jim Kirwan, of the Garda Extradition Unit, told the High Court that he arrested Mr Campbell at Upper Faughart, Co Louth, on foot of the warrant earlier that morning.

Det Sgt Kirwan said he showed Mr Campbell a photograph attached to the warrant and when asked was the photograph of him, Mr Campbell said “yes”.

Mr Campbell was taken to Dundalk Garda station and processed as an arrested person.

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