Belfast Telegraph

IRA rally accused 'linked to event'

A prosecution barrister has told a court that enhanced photographic images examined by a forensic expert linked a man to an illegal dissident republican rally.

Father of three Patrick John Mc Daid (41) from Beechwood Avenue, appeared at the city’s Magistrate’s Court charged with committing an offence under the Terrorism Act 2000 in Londonderry's city cemetery last Easter Monday.

The defendant denies assisting in arranging or managing an event which he knew to be in support of the IRA.

The barrister told District Judge Barney McElholm that the defendant is alleged to have been a member of a masked colour party at the event which was organised by the 32 County Sovereignty Committee.

At the event a masked man read out a statement threatening an upsurge in the Real IRA's campaign of violence against police officers.

The barrister said that following the event the police had searched a number of houses, including the defendant's home.

A quantity of photographic images were recovered showing a masked man whom the police believe to be |the defendant.

The barrister said while in police custody the defendant was photographed and that a “preliminary comparison” of those photographs with the images recovered during the police searches was carried out by an independent forensic expert.

Applying for bail, defence solicitor Paddy MacDermott said that such photographic evidence “is notoriously unreliable”.

“It has been tried twice before without success from the prosecution point of view,” he said.

Mr MacDermott said he did not |believe the evidence was sufficient for a conviction.

“The forensic expert reported that the photographic images only |appeared to match the defendant's facial images.

“The expert has not said there is a definite match between the images and the defendant,” he said.

The District Judge released the defendant on a cash bail of £1,000 to appear in court again on December 22.

As part of his bail conditions the defendant must not leave the city boundaries and has been ordered to surrender his passport to the police.

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