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Dissident suspect Carl Reilly must remain in custody, judge rules

By Alan Erwin

Published 20/11/2015

It was claimed that Reilly referred to himself as
It was claimed that Reilly referred to himself as "the most f****** wanted man in Oglaigh na hEireann in the north"

A prominent dissident republican allegedly recorded discussing murder attempts and bombings must remain in custody, a High Court judge ruled on Friday.

Carl Reilly was refused bail on charges of directing terrorism and membership of an outlawed organisation, Oglaigh na hEireann.

Mrs Justice Keegan heard claims the 39-year-old, from Pollard Close in Belfast, met with a co-accused at a hotel near Dundalk, Co Louth in February.

Prosecutors said the rendezvous was subjected to a covert surveillance operation carried out by the Garda.

It was claimed that Reilly referred to himself as "the most f****** wanted man in Oglaigh na hEireann in the north".

The alleged offences were committed over a period between January 2014 and October this year.

Reilly was described in court as chairman of the Republican Network for Unity (RNU), a "revolutionary" party said to have rejected the Good Friday Agreement and subsequent political deals.

He allegedly met at the Carrickdale Hotel with 40-year-old Paul Crawford, of Carrickree Mews in Warrenpoint, Co Down, who is charged with membership of a proscribed organisation.

In secret recordings Reilly is heard talking about "losing men in Belfast" to Maghaberry Prison, the prosecution contended.

He continued by stating "the f****** Branch are buzzing us" before referring to attempted murders, bombings "coming out of Belfast"  and the recovery of explosives in Co Fermanagh, it was claimed.

Based on extracts from the transcripts, the court heard, Reilly was exerting a position of authority within both the RNU and Oglaigh na hEireann.

At one stage he allegedly stated: "I'm the most f****** wanted man in Oglaigh na hEireann in the north, forgive me if I don't want to talk myself into prison on either side of the border."

CCTV footage and Garda witness statements feature in the evidence against both men.

Following his arrest last month Reilly gave a statement to police rejecting the membership and directing terrorism allegations.

In it he set out his position as national chairman of the RNU, "an entirely legitimate political party" that stood in council elections, and a support group for prisoners rights and welfare.

He added: "I further stress at no time have I ever taken guns or timers off anyone, nor have I been involved in any attempted murders or buying guns."

Instead, the court heard, he claimed to have had success in efforts to encourage peaceful ways forward by engaging with those who may have an influence in helping to stop attacks.

Defence barrister Dessie Hutton attacked the strength of the case against Reilly, claiming it was based on police "supposition and opinion".

He argued that the Garda statements contained inconsistencies and questioned the quality of CCTV images.

Concerns were also raised over the non-disclosure of the full transcripts to the defence.

But although Crawford is already out on bail, Mrs Justice Keegan decided Reilly's application must be refused.

She drew a distinction between the two men, based on the directing terrorism charge against Reilly.

Citing the concern over potential re-offending, the judge held that the risk could not be managed by conditions or sureties.

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