Court will give verdict in trial of two IRA accused next month

Judges at the Special Criminal Court have said they will deliver a verdict in the case of two men accused of IRA membership next month after the court heard closing speeches today from the prosecution and defence.

Court will give verdict in trial of two IRA accused next month

Judges at the Special Criminal Court have said they will deliver a verdict in the case of two men accused of IRA membership next month after the court heard closing speeches today from the prosecution and defence.

Kevin Braney (44), with an address at Glenshane Crescent, Tallaght, Dublin 24 and Ciaran Maguire (30), of Kippure Park, Finglas, Dublin 11, have both pleaded not guilty to membership of an unlawful organisation styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the IRA on August 2, 2017.

It is the prosecution's case that on July 13 last year the two accused travelled from Dublin to an estate in Co Meath, where one of two accused men told another man that they were the IRA and if he did not drop a claim against a former employer the next time they saw him they would shoot him.

Fiona Murphy BL, prosecuting, submitted to the court that it has the opinion evidence of Chief Superintendent Tom Maguire, who had given his "belief" that the men were IRA members on the date in question.

She said that the "lengthy and varied experience of the chief superintendent underpins his ability to express the opinion".

Ms Murphy said that CCTV evidence corroborates testimony from members of the National Surveillance Unit (NSU) that the accused men travelled from Dublin to the address in Meath on July 13 last year.

She also noted the testimony of the alleged subject of the threat.

Rosario Boyle SC, for Mr Braney, and Sean Carroll SC, for Mr Maguire, submitted that there was not sufficient evidence for the court to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt the men were members of the IRA.

Ms Boyle said that "little or no weight" should be attached to the chief supt's opinion evidence.

She said there was "no evidence as to the reliability of his sources" and that his opinion was a "bare assertion".

Ms Boyle also asked the court to "consider the likelihood of two people going to a built-up area on a sunny evening to tell [the alleged victim of the threat] they were the IRA and going to shoot him".

Mr Carroll said that "questions arise" in relation to how much weight court can put on the various strands of evidence.

He said that "very little underpinned the belief evidence" of the chief supt.

Mr Carroll also questioned the reliability of the evidence of alleged victim of the threat.

Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding, sitting with Judge Gerard Griffin and Judge Flann Brennan, said the court will give judgement on the case on May 30.

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