Belfast Telegraph

Court hears 5 deny Real IRA charges

By Brian Hutton
08 February 2005

Four men and a woman appear before Ballymena Magistrates Court today charged with being members of the Real IRA.

All five were arrested following the discovery of three incendiary devices during a police swoop on a house in Fisherwick estate in Ballymena on Saturday.

Anthony Martin Lee, (29) of Fisherwick Crescent, an unemployed baker, Liam Lyness (20), of Fisherwick Crescent, a butcher and Christopher Daniel Smiley, (22), of Deramore Crescent, unemployed, all denied the charges.

The court heard that all three made no reply when charged with possession of explosives with intent to endanger life or damage property. On a second charge of being a member of a proscribed organisation, namely the Real IRA, all three replied that they have never been a member of an illegal organisation.

Simone Sloan (22), of Fisherwick Gardens, a dental nurse, also denied both charges. Pearse Fergus Thomas O'Neill, (22), of Deramore Crescent, unemployed, had to be forced to stand before the court by police and refused to confirm his identity.

The court heard that O'Neill made no reply to either charge.

A PSNI constable told the court that he believed he could connect all five accused with the charges.

Resident Magistrate Richard Wilsonbriefly adjourned the hearings after a large crowd in the gallery cheered and clapped the announcement of one of the defendants.

A large police presence moved in to eject the crowd from the courtroom before one family member of each defendant was allowed to re-enter

All five defendants are to be remanded in custody to appear before the court again by videolink on March 3.

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