Terrorism hearing mother was expert witness in football club case

Caroline Ward-Fahy: Shocked to be in this situation.

The psychologist who spoke on behalf of her son charged with alleged terrorism offences in Waterford this week also recently gave evidence at a high-profile court case in Cork under a different name.

Last week, Caroline Goldsmith appeared as a witness in the case taken by 18-year-old Sean Cooke against Carrigaline United Football Club. Mr Cooke had claimed he had been bullied by coaches at the club, and she told the court that she was of the opinion that he had suffered post-traumatic stress disorder. The allegations were denied and the case was dismissed.

The same woman appeared at Waterford District Court on Monday, under the name Caroline Ward-Fahy, and offered to stand bail for her son, Hasan Bal.

While she elected to swear an oath on the Quran for Monday’s hearing, she used a Bible for taking the oath when in the witness stand in Cork last week.

Mr Bal, aged 25, who was formerly living at an address at O’Connell St in Waterford, appeared charged with providing funding for a foreign terrorist group on October 2, 2015, and attempting to collect funding for a foreign terrorist group on October 23, 2015.

He was denied bail and will appear again on May 9.

The court had heard that Mr Bal’s mother was willing to stand bail for him and allow him to live in her home.

Detective Sergeant Donal Donohoe said: “I honestly believe that she is not aware of the full facts of the case.”

Caroline Ward-Fahy said it was “very shocking” to be in this situation.

Inspector Tony Lonergan asked her how she proposed to ensure, if her son was granted bail, that he would comply with his bail conditions.

“Since my son was born, when I tell him to do something, he will do it,” she said.

“He will do that as his duty to God because his mother is a very important part of his faith.”

She added “I don’t know what’s alleged” but said she was aware that her son is “innocent, and that will be proven”.

Asked what assurance she could give of her son complying with any bail conditions, she said: “The strongest assurance you can ever have is that my son is obedient to me, because of his faith.”

Judge Kevin Staunton said he had no doubt that the accused’s mother was a genuine witness and a believable person and said he accepted she was “shocked by the turn of events that has led her here today”.


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