Real IRA ruling overturned

The Real IRA is an illegal terrorist organisation, the Court of Appeal in Belfast has ruled.

Wednesday's judgement overturns last month's ruling that the Real IRA - which carried out the Omagh bomb atrocity in August 1998 - was not listed under section 3 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

During the case, Mr Justice Girvan cleared four men of being RIRA members, saying that under current legislation, an organisation was proscribed only if it was listed or operated under the same name as a listed organisation.

The men were eventually cleared of a dissident republican plot to murder police and soldiers on Tuesday.

This latest judgement does not affect their acquittal, as the Attorney General referred the case to the Appeal Court purely on a point of law.

The Lord Chief Justice, Sir Brian Kerr, sitting with Lord Justices Nicholson and Campbell, said that when the Terrorism Act 2000 was passed, parliament was well aware of the existence and activities of the 'Real' IRA.


He said that quite apart from the notoriety of the Omagh bomb outrage, the organisation was specified under the NI (Sentences) Act 1998 before the passing of the Terrorism Act.

"In our judgement it is inconceivable that the legislature did not intend that the 'Real' IRA should be proscribed and that its members should be liable to prosecution for belonging to a proscribed organisation," said the Lord Chief Justice.

"Given the manner in which various groupings of the IRA had been proscribed historically, we consider that it should have been apparent to any member of the 'Real' IRA that he was guilty of an offence under these provisions if he continued his membership or professed it."

The Real IRA was behind the 1998 Omagh bombing, in which 29 people died.

A defence lawyer applied for leave to appeal to the House of Lords, and Sir Brian said they would give a decision next week.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?