Two Dublin men are to be extradited to Northern Ireland for the alleged attempted murder of a PSNI officer, a High Court judge has said.
Dublin men Ciaran Maguire (aged 29), of Kippure Park, Finglas South and Sean Paul Farrell (aged 32), of Stannaway Road, Kimmage, are wanted in Northern Ireland for the alleged attempted murder of a police officer and possession of explosive substances with intent to endanger life. Both men face life imprisonment on both counts if found guilty.
Today, Mr Justice Donald Binchy told the court that he considered all the arguments made for and against the men's surrender and "having done so, I'm satisfied that the arguments made against the surrender have to be rejected". He did not summarise his judgement, saying it's "long and detailed" and "doesn't lend to a summary".
According to the men's European Arrest Warrant, the PSNI officer’s wife, also a serving PSNI officer, awoke in the early hours of June 18 and looked out her bedroom window and saw a male in the driveway on the ground at the driver's door of her husband's car.
The male in the driveway appeared to be working on something underneath the car which was subsequently confirmed to be an Improvised Explosive Device (IED), according to the warrant. “That same night,” Mr Maguire and Mr Farrell were arrested in Co Donegal on suspicion of membership of an unlawful organisation, the court heard.
Before Christmas, Mr Justice Binchy ordered that the Northern Irish authorities be asked if a trial court in Northern Ireland could "draw inferences pursuant to Article 3 and/or Article 4 of the Criminal Evidence [Northern Ireland] Order 1988" in connection with interviews carried out with the men outside Northern Ireland, namely in Millford and Letterkenny Garda Stations in Co Donegal.
It followed an earlier hearing in which Giollaíosa Ó Lideadha SC, for Mr Farrell, said his client exercised his right to silence when he was being interviewed in Milford Garda Station. As far as Mr Farrell knew, he was being questioned for the purpose of a prosecution in the Republic, Mr Ó Lideadha said.
The barrister said Mr Farrell was not told, or warned, that if he exercised his right to silence in the garda station, he was liable to be prosecuted in Northern Ireland. There was a lawyer present in the garda station giving him advice on the law in the Republic, but not on the law in Northern Ireland.
Mr Ó Lideadha said the trial process in Northern Ireland allows a judge to call an accused into the witness box and say, in front of a jury, ‘if you don’t get into the witness box, it will be permissible to draw adverse inferences against you’.
“That cannot be done here,” Mr Ó Lideadha said, adding that in this jurisdiction, a jury “must be told in every case” that if an accused does not give evidence, no adverse inferences can be drawn against them.
Last month, after the High Court received its response from the Northern Irish authorities, Tony McGillicuddy BL, for the Minister for Justice, said “the court asked a clear question" and it got "a clear response” - namely that the prosecution would not ask the court to draw inferences. The barrister argued that the response had "effectively demolished” the defence teams’ arguments.
Mr McGillicuddy said that the defence teams’ argument that an adverse inference could still be drawn is “entirely speculative” and added “speculation is never enough”.
Mr Justice Binchy held off making the extradition orders for the men today, to give them time to consider the judgement and put the matter down for mention on Wednesday, February 26.