Colombia Three file may be sent to DPP

GARDAÍ are to consider sending a file to the Director of Public Prosecutions in relation to at least one of the Colombia Three, it emerged last night.

Niall Connolly, 38, was questioned by gardaí until late last night over alleged passport offences.

Mr Connolly was arrested at around noon yesterday after he, James Monaghan and Martin McCauley presented themselves to gardaí.

Mr Monaghan, 58, and Mr McCauley, 41, were not arrested and were interviewed by gardaí on a voluntary basis.

The three fugitives fled Colombia last December after being sentenced to 17 years each for training FARC guerrillas.

Senior officers will today begin examining interview notes from the questioning of Mr Connolly as well as any other evidence.

“We will look at the evidence we have and will consider sending a file to the DPP. If there is enough evidence of a possible offence we will submit a file,” said a garda source.

However, gardaí point out that Mr Connolly was not caught here presenting a false passport.

Gardaí will also examine notes from their interviews with Mr Monaghan and Mr McCauley, but suspect there may be little evidence to suggest any offences committed in Ireland.

While all three were convicted in Colombia of travelling on false passports, only Mr Connolly was convicted of having a false Irish passport. Mr Monaghan and Mr McCauley were convicted of carrying false British passports.

Under the Theft and Fraud Offences Act 2001, a person guilty of procuring or using a false passport is liable on conviction or indictment to a fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years or both.

The Colombia Three arrived at separate south Dublin garda stations yesterday at around noon following previous discussions between gardaí and the men’s legal representatives.

After arriving at Harcourt Terrace station, Mr Connolly was arrested and detained under Section Four of the Criminal Justice Act.

An initial six-hour detention was renewed at around 6pm for a further six hours.

Mr Monaghan and Mr McCauley allowed themselves to be interviewed before leaving at around 7pm.

Government spokesmen said both Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and Justice Minister Michael McDowell were being kept informed.

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