Judges to rule on McFarlane 'admissions'

Judges are expected to rule today on whether incriminating statements allegedly made by a former IRA chief can be used against him in his trial on kidnap charges.

Judges are expected to rule today on whether incriminating statements allegedly made by a former IRA chief can be used against him in his trial on kidnap charges.

Brendan McFarlane is alleged to have told officers investigating the 1983 abduction of supermarket boss Don Tidey he was at the wooded hideaway where the businessman had been held captive.

But the ex IRA boss, who was arrested in January 1998, denied he ever made the statement or claimed to detectives he was prepared for the worst when quizzed at Dundalk garda station.

His barrister Hugh Hartnett SC told Dublin’s Special Criminal Court today that during his client’s bail application days after his arrest officers made no mention of alleged admissions.

Mr Hartnett, who has called for the statements to be ruled inadmissible, said then Detective Superintendent John McElligott of the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI) only mentioned they had fingerprint evidence.

In his application to the three-judge non-jury court Mr Hartnett also said some of the officers involved in questioning McFarlane, aged 56, had been criticised in past cases for their interviewing techniques.

McFarlane was jailed in the Maze prison near Belfast in 1974 for his part in the IRA bombing of a bar in the city’s Shankill Road in which five people were killed.

He was the head of the Provisional IRA prisoners at the Maze and escaped in the mass breakout by 38 inmates in September 1983.

He was arrested in Amsterdam in early 1986, extradited to the North and released on parole from the Maze in 1997.

He was arrested over his alleged involvement in the Tidey kidnapping on January 5, 1998 as he travelled on a bus between Dublin and Belfast.

He has pleaded not guilty to one charge of imprisoning Mr Tidey and two firearms offences.

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