A Louth man was convicted of INLA membership by the Special Criminal Court today.
Anthony Lee (aged 33) of Carnbeg, Doylesfort Road, Dundalk had pleaded not guilty to the charge of INLA membership on December 20, 2007.
Lee, a construction worker, was one of two men arrested when the car in which he was a passenger tried to drive through a garda roadblock in Dundalk.
A search of the car’s boot revealed two bags containing garda uniforms, two bullet proof jackets and two black bomber jackets, emblazoned with an assault rifle logo and “Republican Socialist Movement Dundalk” on the back. An extendable baton was found in the driver’s side of the car.
An Irish Army bullet proof vest, a steel metal plate and a number of empty mobile phone boxes were among the items discovered by gardaí during a follow-up search at Mr. Lee’s home.
During the eight-day trial, the court heard evidence from Chief Superintendent Patrick McGee who said it was his view the accused was a “member of an illegal organisation, namely the INLA”.
Delivering its verdict today, the court said it did not accept Lee’s account of events on the night of his arrest. He said he had gone to a house in the Clan Chullain estate in the town to collect blinds, and denied having any knowledge of what was in the boot of the car.
The court also found it was entitled to draw inferences from Lee’s failure to answer important questions put to him by gardaí over the course of six interviews carried out during the investigation.
Lee, whose partner is due to give birth to the couple’s first child in February, was remanded on continuing bail until November 24 for sentence.