Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 10 July 2014

Man 'posed in photographs with other masked and armed terrorists'

James Edward McGettigan, who went on trial today at Belfast Crown Court where he denies making property available for use by terrorists
James Edward McGettigan, who went on trial today at Belfast Crown Court where he denies making property available for use by terrorists

A Strabane man allegedly used his own basement to pose in photographs with other masked and armed terrorists who were holding a drug dealer hostage, a top judge heard today.

The Recorder of Belfast Judge David McFarland was told that image comparison experts had looked at the images, published in the Strabane Chronicle newspaper and compared those with photographs taken from the basement of the property on the Derry Road and opined they were the same.

Opening the Diplock, no jury trial against 47-year-old James McGettigan at Belfast Crown Court, prosecuting lawyer Robin Steer further claimed that despite being masked, a facial mapping expert had opined that McGettigan was to the extreme right hand side of the photograph.

He said the expert would claim that similarities in the shape of the eyes, mouth, lips, height and visible hair colour would "lend moderate support" to the contention that McGettigan and 'man x' were the same.

The lawyer described how that image depicted a masked and bound man surrounded by five masked men, two of whom were armed with assault rifles with further weaponry including shotguns and pistols, laid out on a table.

McGettigan, from the Urney Road in Strabane, denies a single charge of providing property for a terrorist purpose on a date between 22 - 25 May 2010.

Mr Steer told trial Judge McFarland how the photograph was published along with an article containing a statement from Republican Action Against Drugs where the terrorist organisation issued a warning to drug dealers.

Within that statement RAAD, said the lawyer, had claimed responsibility for shooting a 25-year-old man in the Londonderry area, issued a warning that they were "monitoring" the activities of 12 other men and that they were likely to commit further attacks, including the use of pipe bombs.

Mr Steer said that while RAAD were not a specifically proscribed organisation, their claimed activities did come under the definition of the Terrorism Act, hence the reason for charging McGettigan with providing property for a terrorist purpose.

The photographs were dated on May 24, 2010 and appeared in the local newspaper that same week.

He told the judge how McGettigan had told police that around that time, he had access to the property and lived in it on an almost permanent basis - although it actually belonged to his girlfriend.

McGettigan also told cops during interviews that he had no knowledge of the property being used by any terrorist organisation.

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