A man accused of belonging to a proscribed organisation and being involved in the preparation of terrorist acts has been refused bail.
The 38-year-old’s barrister told court that the charges were to be contested.
He said it was a “definite fight” irrespective of the fact that co-accused had since pleaded guilty and been sentenced.
Darren Gleeson, with an address of Corduff Green in Dublin, appeared before Newry Magistrates’ Court for the purposes of a bail application on Wednesday, via videolink from Maghaberry.
The accused is charged with belonging or professing to belong to a proscribed organisation, conspiracy to possess explosives with intent to endanger life, preparation of terrorist acts and receiving training or instructions involving terrorism.
Defence barrister Sean Devine stated the application was made due to “the passage of time” and commented that the court was “very familiar” with the general background to the case.
He submitted that the Crown case against his client was based on “audio identification evidence” which he described as “fairly tenuous”.
Mr Devine stated: “I am aware of weariness on the court’s part, given the background and that other individuals, who were at one point co-accused of Mr Gleeson, have pleaded guilty.
“However, this is a definite fight irrespective of the co-accused. Mr Gleeson will be contesting these charges. I would submit that evidence alone is something similar to a fleeting glance.”
He added: “In cases such as this, it has taken years for them to go through the system. It is not suggested that he was a ringleader, his co-accused got a two year sentence and he has been in custody for the equivalent effectively.”
It was outlined by Mr Devine, that Gleeson had not been able to provide an address in this jurisdiction, with the only one available being with his mother in Dublin.
He stated: “We ask that he is granted bail to live with his mother in Dublin, or alternatively is granted bail subject to an address in this jurisdiction.
“I would submit that the time has now come for him to be granted bail.”
Prosecuting barrister Samuel Magee QC submitted that the defence had failed to put forward any change in circumstances for the bail application.
He commented: “The worst case scenario is that he goes out and commits further terrorist offences, just like he did when the court last placed its trust in him.”
Mr Magee outlined that the defendant had failed to engage with a preliminary enquiry, the legal process by which a case is referred to the higher court, back on September 15, 2017.
He stated: “He was extradited from the Republic on September 11, 2019. Nothing has happened since then, we have been waiting and waiting.
“The fact that the defendant wishes to fight the charges matters not. It has previously been established there is a prima facie case.”
Mr Magee continued: “His is not a curious case, he was not the only defendant who was not arrested at the scene, there have been no change in circumstances and he has demonstrated previously that he is not a suitable candidate for bail.”
District Judge Eamonn King stated: “If my memory serves me right, all these men were remanded in custody and were all granted bail over a number of months.
“The matter was listed for PE and all defendants appeared, apart from Mr Gleeson who found himself in custody in the Republic of Ireland.”
He continued: “He was then extradited to this jurisdiction and we have been waiting for him to participate in proceedings. All that is holding this up is the engagement of the defendant.
“The main thrust seems to be on the grounds of delay. If that is the case then that delay rests solely on the head of the defendant.”
Bail was refused and the case was adjourned until November 18.
Sign up for our weekly newsletter here.