Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 23 October 2014

High Court judge: Prison paramilitaries will not be allowed to dictate terms for bail

Prison-based paramilitary factions will not be allowed to dictate the terms under which suspects are granted bail, a High Court judge warned today.

Mr Justice Horner delivered the message as he refused to remove conditions including electronic tagging imposed on a political activist accused of terrorism offences.

Stephen Murney (29) of Derrybeg Terrace, Newry, faces charges of collecting information likely to be of use to terrorists and possession of articles for use in terror.

The alleged offences relate to photographs discovered during searches of his home last year.

Images found on his computer showed men holding suspected firearms, the court heard.

The charges are also connected to the discovery of two BB guns, three military style jumpers, two black berets, and three pairs of combat style trousers.

Murney, an activist for the republican party Eirigi, had already been granted bail but sought to have some of his release conditions lifted.

These included the imposition of an electronic monitoring device and a ban on entering Newry.

A defence barrister argued that tagging were more commonly used in cases involving night-time burglaries.

Questioned about whether Murney had asked to be placed on the separated regime while on remand in Maghaberry Prison, she said it was felt safer to go there due to the type of charges.

She also described the items seized from her client's home as "toy guns".

But the judge pointed out that bail was only granted on the basis of strict conditions.

He ruled that none of those requirements would be relaxed or waived.

Mr Justice Horner added: "I want to make it clear that the court is not going to be dictated to by paramilitary factions in prison on what conditions are imposed or not imposed."

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