ISIS membership suspect Lisa Smith pleads with DPP to discontinue terror charge

Dundalk woman Lisa Smith has been remanded on continuing bail pending the preparation of a book of evidence after she pleaded with the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to drop the case against her due to lack of evidence.

ISIS membership suspect Lisa Smith pleads with DPP to discontinue terror charge

Dundalk woman Lisa Smith has been remanded on continuing bail pending the preparation of a book of evidence after she pleaded with the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to drop the case against her due to lack of evidence.

It was her first appearance at Dublin District Court since she took up bail and Judge John Hughes acceded to a request, in the “interest of justice” to grant the DPP another eight weeks to complete the book of evidence for her trial.

A State solicitor told Judge Hughes it was day 35 of a 42-day limit but more time was required because it was a complicated and substantial case. Information from outside the jurisdiction and various mutual assistance requests had been applied for.

The investigation file was not with the DPP yet but it was expected to be “in the coming weeks”, the State solicitor said.

Possible further charges could be brought against the Co. Louth woman, the court has heard.

The DPP has directed trial on indictment in a higher court, however, the book of evidence must be served first.

Smith appeared again at Dublin District Court today after she was escorted into the building by two gardai on her arrival.

Dressed in a black and white wool coat and black hijab with her face visible, she stood silently at the side of the court throughout the hearing.

Defence solicitor Peter Corrigan consented to the eight-week adjournment. He said there was no objection, however, “the defence would ask the DPP to consider the evidential threshold in relation to the charge, the present charge.”

He said he was present during garda interviews where all the evidence was presented and it was the defence opinion it did not reach the threshold.

The solicitor said there had been significant debate in the DPP’s office whether to prefer a charge. He asked for the evidence to be “actively reviewed” and the charge to be “discontinued”.

“There is not a single piece of evidence amounting to a charge,” he submitted.

Judge Hughes said that was a matter for the DPP, not for the court.

He granted the State the eight-week extension, saying, “It is in the interest of justice to do so.”

She denies the charge and was ordered to appear again on March 4 next.

The former Irish defence forces member, who had left Ireland in recent years and married after she converted to Islam, had been found in a Syrian refugee camp.

After a trek to Turkey with her daughter, aged two, she was brought back to Ireland on December 1 when she was arrested.

The mother-of-one was questioned for three days before she was charged with being a member of ISIS from 2015 to 2019.

She was refused bail on December 4 when she appeared at Dublin District Court.

The 37-year-old, who pleaded to be let out and reunited with her daughter, brought a fresh bail application to the High Court on December 19. Despite Garda Special Detective Unit (SDU) objections, it was successful and she was ordered to obey a list of strict conditions, and to lodge €500.

A further €1,000 out of €5,000 independent surety had to be put paid.

She remained in Limerick Prison over Christmas due issues approving someone to stand the bail. However, Smith managed to take it up on December 31 and was let out.

Her charges sheet states: “That you the said Lisa Marie Smith between October, 28 2015 and December 1, 2019, both dates inclusive, outside the State, did commit an act which if committed in the State would constitute an offence under Section 21 of the Offences Against the State Act 1939, as amended by Section 5 of the Criminal Justice (Terrorist Offences) Act 2005, in that you were a member of a terrorist group which is an unlawful organisation, to wit an organisation styling itself the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) also known as Dawlat al-Iraq al-Islamiyya, Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Dawlat al Islamiya fi Iraq wa al Sham, otherwise known as 'Da’esh' and the Islamic State in Iraq and Sham.

It is an offence contrary to the Criminal Justice (Terrorist Offences). It can carry a ten-year sentence.

The High Court has ordered that the address where she has been residing cannot be published but the media can report that she is living in the north east of the country.

Mr Justice Robert Eagar made an order restricting the publication of evidence in support of the objection to bail to protect the integrity of the jury system.

Smith joined the Irish defence forces after leaving school in 2000 and also served with the Air Corps on the government jet.

At her High Court bail hearing, Mr Michael O’Higgins SC submitted that risk of flight was low. “She has a child here, her immediate concern of for her child, and this is a very strong anchor.” She also agreed to abide by bail terms.

In his ruling, Mr Justice Eagar had said Ms Smith was accused of membership of a terrorist organisation but was entitled to the presumption of innocence and the presumption of bail.

The High Court was satisfied that no warrants had been issued for the accused and she had no prior convictions. He held that refusal of bail was not necessary but a number of conditions were attached.

She was warned that breaching the terms would result in going back into custody.

She must reside at an address in the north east, sign on at a Garda station twice daily from 10am – 1pm and 3pm – 6pm.

She was ordered to obey a curfew.

She had to remain indoors from 8pm and not leave until 7am.

She cannot leave the jurisdiction or apply for new travel documentation, having already lost her passport.

She was ordered to provide gardai with a contact mobile phone number within 48 hours of taking up bail. The High Court judge warned her that she must answer the phone if rung by gardai and if she failed to do so it would be a breach of bail.

He also banned her form accessing the internet or using any social media and the final condition was that she must not have contact with any non-Garda witnesses in the case.

At her first hearing on December 4, her solicitor had pleaded for bail telling the district court his had come back to Ireland after walking with her toddler daughter, “through bombs, poverty, and cesspit camps, and desert, to come to her country of origin”.

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