Dissident's bid to have terror case dropped fails
A dissident republican charged with encouraging terrorism has failed in a High Court bid to have his prosecution declared null and void.
Lawyers for Damien 'Dee' Fennell claimed criminal proceedings over a speech delivered at an Easter Rising event should be halted due to a failure to secure consent from the Advocate General for Northern Ireland.
Fennell (34), of Torrens Avenue in Belfast, is awaiting trial on counts of encouraging acts of terrorism, inviting support for the IRA and addressing a meeting to encourage support for the IRA. He denies the charges.
The alleged offences relate to a speech he gave during a 1916 commemoration event at St Colman's Cemetery in Lurgan on Easter Sunday last year.
His legal team argued that authorisation from Advocate General Jeremy Wright was required because the alleged offences in the graveside oration relate to the affairs of a country outside the UK, namely the Irish Republic.
On that basis, and without approval from the Advocate General, the charges are a nullity, it was claimed.
But a PPS barrister argued that the alleged offences involved encouraging armed resistance against authorities in the UK.
Dismissing Fennell's application, Mr Justice Maguire pointed out that he had already mounted an unsuccessful bid to have the charges thrown out at the Crown Court.