Belfast Telegraph

Eirigi man denies snaps of police were intended for use in terrorism

By John Cassidy

A public relations officer for a republican political party who is accused of publishing photographs of police officers on duty on his Facebook page has told his trial that he would learn how to blank out their faces in the future.

Newry man Stephen Murney (30) denies seven counts of publishing, collecting and possessing information likely to be of use to terrorists between August 2011 and July 2012.

The prosecution claims that the photos were found on a computer and two videos on an iPhone after a police search of Murney's Derrybeg Terrace home in November 2012.

Earlier in the hearing, Judge Corinne Philpott QC rejected a defence application to dismiss all charges against Murney.

Giving evidence, Murney told defence counsel Barry McDonald QC that he worked as a public relations officer (PRO) for the Newry branch of Eirigi.

"We are a responsible, non-violent, political party and we work towards a socialist republic,'' Murney said. "We do not support any armed group. We contest elections. Anyone who joins us must sign a declaration that they would not support violence.''

The father-of-one said it was his job as Eirigi's Newry PRO to photograph events in the city relating to peaceful protests. He told trial judge Corinne Philpott QC that after events, he would prepare press releases and post material on the Eirigi website and his Facebook page.

Judge Philpott asked: "Could you have blanked out their faces?''

Murney replied: "I am not very good on the technical side of things. The technical side of things would not be my strong point.''

Judge Philpott QC: "Are you going to remain as a PRO?"

Murney: "Yes.''

Judge Philpott: "Are you going to learn how to pixellate faces?''

Murney: "Yes.''

He added: "I didn't think I was doing anything wrong.''

The trial continues.

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