Judgement reserved in five-man IRA membership case

03/02/2005 - 16:33:05

The Special Criminal Court has reserved judgement in a defence application in the trial of five men accused of IRA membership following their arrest in Bray, Co Wicklow.

The court has heard that gardaí recovered a large quantity of Sinn Féin posters, including election posters for Sinn Féin TD Aengus O' Snodaigh, from a car in which they also found a stun gun and CS gas canister after the men's arrest.

It was the nineteenth day of the trial of five men. The trial has heard that gardaí recovered a CS gas canister, a stun gun, pick axe handles, balaclavas and a fake garda jacket after five men were seen acting suspiciously around three vehicles by an off-duty Special Branch officer.

The court has heard that gardaí found four of the men seated on the floor of a transit van and two of them were dressed in fake garda uniforms.

The five Dublin men have pleaded not guilty to membership of an illegal organisation styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Óglaigh na hÉireann, otherwise the IRA on October 11, 2002.

They are Thomas Gilson (aged 24), of Bawnlea Avenue, Jobstown, Tallaght, Patrick Brennan (aged 40), of Lindisfarne Avenue, Clondalkin, Sean O' Donnell (aged 32), of Castle Drive, Sandymount, John Troy (aged 22), of Donard Avenue and Stephen Birney (aged 30), of Conquerhill Road, Clontarf.

Defence counsel for the five men have submitted that their arrest and detention under Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act was unlawful and as a result interviews carried out with them by gardaí are not admissible in evidence.

The defence argued that the Section 30 arrests were unlawful because of "a series of prior illegalities which took place prior to the arrests."

The court will give judgement on the defence applications next Tuesday.

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