Man walks free after DDP drops 'IRA' case

Sharon O'Neill, Irish News

A west Belfast businessman, accused of possessing documents linked to
the IRA, last night (Monday) said he was 'relieved, but angry' after
the case dramatically collapsed.

It came amid fresh concerns that three men charged two years ago
over 'Stormontgate', the most sensitive police investigation since
the peace process began, have still to stand trial.

Last Friday a charge of possessing documents likely to be of use to
terrorists was withdrawn against William Tierney (59) from
Coolnasilla Close, west Belfast, who strenuously denied the

Although the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) did not comment,
Mr Tierney's solicitor Oliver Kelly said the 16-month-old charge was
withdrawn because of insufficient evidence.

"The arrest and charging of Bill Tierney was a calculated injustice,"
he said.

Mr Tierney – a former republican prisoner who, since his release more
than 20 years ago, has worked in computers – was remanded in custody
on June 7 2003.

At a bail hearing, the court heard that details about an alarm and
camera systems at the by-then defunct Maze prison were found on a
computer seized from his west Belfast business premises.

It was also alleged information relating to alarm systems at court
buildings as well as suspected IRA organisational documents and code
words were found.

Before his arrest Mr Tierney claimed police attempted to recruit him
as an informer.

Last night he said: "I am relieved it (the charge) was dropped. Why
did they charge me in the first place?

"My business is gone. It has been very difficult, for me, my wife and

Meanwhile, the 'Stormontgate' case – relating to an alleged IRA spy-
ring within government – will also return to court on Thursday when
the crown will attempt to prevent the disclosure of documents.

Former Stormont porter William Mackessy (45) from Wolfend Way,
Ligoniel, Belfast; Denis Donaldson (53) from Aitnamona Crescent in
Belfast, who was Sinn Féin's head of administration at Stormont and
his son-in-law Ciaran Kearney (32) of Commedagh Drive, Belfast are
accused of possessing documents likely to be of use to terrorists.

In February, a charge of possessing documents of a secret,
confidential or restricted nature originating from the Northern
Ireland Office – central to the executive's collapse – was withdrawn.

Charges against a fourth person were dropped last December.

Solicitor Kevin Winters, representing Mr Kearney, said: "It is an
ongoing concern that wide-ranging, unjustified allegations can have a
profound political impact and remain unsubstantiated. A trial date is
unlikely this year."

Solicitor Peter Madden, who represents Mr Donaldson and Mr Mackessy,
also said he had complained about the delay.

"We now have to apply for disclosure of all evidence relating to the
covert surveillance operation. This information is essential for my
clients' defence."

October 13, 2004

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

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