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01 Dec 2021

Donegal man wanted in North for alleged terrorism offences tells High Court two charges do not correspond with Irish law

Ms Justice Biggs said that she would first give a ruling on the matter on November 10

High Court orders extradition of man living in Louth wanted in respect of double murder in Northern Ireland

High Court

A Donegal man wanted in Northern Ireland for alleged terrorism offences has told the High Court that two of the charges against him do not correspond with the law here.

The High Court heard the case of Brendan Emmet Casey, who is fighting his extradition on a total of six charges, including a conspiracy to possess explosives and firearms with the intent to endanger life and cause damage.

Mr Casey, 43, of Ernedale Heights, Ballyshannon, Co Donegal, is also accused of engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism, attending at a place used for terrorist training, receiving training in how to make and use explosives for use in terrorism and of being a member of a prescribed organisation, namely: the Irish Republican Army.

The alleged offences are said to have taken place on dates between August and November 2014 at an address at Ardcarn Park, Newry, Co Armagh.

On Tuesday, John Berry BL, barrister for Mr Casey, submitted that two of the alleged offences - attending at a place used for terrorist training and receiving training in how to make and use explosives "for use in terrorism" - had no corresponding offence in Irish law.

Karen Nolan BL, for the Minister of Justice, told Ms Justice Caroline Biggs that the two alleged offences were covered by the Criminal Justice (Terrorist Offences) Act of 2005.

Ms Nolan said the act states that a person is guilty of an offence: "in or outside the State if they engage in a terrorist activity or a terrorist-linked activity, attempts to engage in a terrorist activity or a terrorist-linked activity, or if they make a threat to engage in terrorist activity."

Counsel said that Mr Casey was being sought for allegedly receiving training in the making of pipe bombs and that four of the six alleged offences carried a potential life sentence.

Mr Berry said that the warrant alleges Mr Casey took instruction from two men on the making of pipe-bombs but that the Act in Northern Ireland went further and that the offence included the specific line "for the purposes of terrorism" which had no corresponding law in Ireland.

Ms Nolan said it was the Minister's view that both alleged offences were covered by the Act.

Ms Justice Biggs said that she would first give a ruling on the matter on November 10 and deal with the balance of matters thereafter.

The court is also awaiting a ruling from the Court of Justice of the European Union after two men in a separate case challenged their surrender to UK Authorities, claiming that the European Arrest Warrant system between Ireland and the UK is invalid. The CJEU is expected to return judgement in the case next month.  

Ms Justice Biggs remanded Mr Casey, who was in court, on continuing bail to November 9.

The warrant seeking Mr Casey's surrender states that the charges arose after the police in Northern Ireland obtained covert recordings of meetings that took place at the Newry address.

The group present at the house allegedly spoke about a lack of finances, difficulties in sourcing material such as fertiliser, potential targets and whether they should go after economic or military targets.

It is further alleged that discussions were also held about developing a strategy for their armed struggle, recruitment, naming their organisation, and its relationship with other dissident republican factions.  

It is also alleged Mr Casey suggested at the meeting that he was in possession of firearms and ammunition, and could source additional weapons.

At a previous sitting of the court, Detective Sergeant Jim Kirwan of the Garda Extradition Unit said that he arrested Mr Casey on September 9 on foot of an EU-UK Surrender Warrant, issued by Belfast Magistrates Court in July.

The detective told the court that when he asked Mr Casey if he knew what the charges contained in the warrant were about, he replied "yes."

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