Belfast Telegraph

Duo lose gun plot conviction appeal

Two men jailed for their part in a dissident republican gun smuggling plot uncovered after an MI5 sting operation have failed to have their convictions overturned.

Senior judges dismissed appeals by Paul McCaugherty (44) and Dermot Declan Gregory (42), who were found guilty after a Europe-wide security service probe.

McCaugherty, formerly of Beech Road, Lurgan, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for attempting to import arms.

It was alleged that he sought the equipment on behalf of the Real IRA from an arms dealer who was a security services agent.

Gregory (42), of Concession Road, Crossmaglen, received a four-year jail term last October after being found guilty of making a Portuguese property available for the purpose of terrorism.

McCaugherty's lawyers argued on appeal that his conviction should be quashed because entrapment was used against him.

However, dismissing his appeal, Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan said: "It did not cause the commission of the offences but led to circumstances where the opportunity for the appellant to commit the offences arose."

Gregory's appeal was based on claims that the trial judge erred in holding that the prosecution had defeated his case of duress beyond reasonable doubt.

Sir Declan ruled there was "ample evidence... to defeat the duress case".

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