IOL: RIRA-accused teen 'had bomb-making video'

RIRA-accused teen 'had bomb-making video'
20/09/2003 - 13:59:24

A teenager accused of Real IRA membership had a videotape used in bomb-making operations, a court heard today.

The 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, also allegedly possessed equipment used to assemble explosives when police swooped.

The unemployed youth, from Strabane, was among five people arrested in the Co Tyrone town by detectives investigating threats from the dissident terror group against Catholic members of policing boards in Northern Ireland.

Three members of the monitoring bodies have now stood down amid fears for their lives.

The accused made no reply as three charges were read out during a special sitting of Omagh Magistrates Court.

He was accused of either being a member of, or claiming to be in the Real IRA between December 1, 2001 and September 20, 2003.

The rogue republican outfit, which killed 29 people in the August 1998 Omagh bombing, has warned all Catholics on the district policing partnerships they are legitimate targets.

The court also heard he allegedly possessed a red electrical switch, a telescopic sight, four spent rounds of ammunition, a small lightbulb, screws and nails, Marigold gloves, a small firework and a number of blue plastic protectors.

A JVC camcorder cassette tape used in assembling explosive devices for terrorist purposes was also found when he was arrested by police on Thursday, it was claimed.

The court also heard he allegedly possessed a firearm or imitation firearm used to make residents in Strabane fear they were under threat of unlawful violence.

Constable Graeme Craig told the court the accused made no reply when charged but the detective said he believed he could connect him with the offences.

Questioning the detective, a defence solicitor asked him to confirm his client had provided an explanation for all the materials suspected of being used to assemble explosives.

The lawyer added: “He stated that he was not a member of any illegal organisation, he was not involved in any illegal activity and that the video shown to him was a joke.”

Mr Craig confirmed that was correct.

The youth was remanded in custody at Hydebank young offenders centre until October 7.

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