Man accused of Continuity IRA membership released on bail
A man accused of being at meetings where suspected Continuity IRA chiefs plotted terror attacks is to be released from custody, a High Court judge ruled today.
Terence Marks was granted bail on charges of belonging to a proscribed organisation and conspiracy to cause an explosion likely to endanger life.
The 55-year-old, of Parkhead Crescent in Newry, was arrested following a covert MI5 operation at a house in the city.
Nine other people have also been charged, while reports on a further five were sent to the Public Prosecution Service.
The investigation centres on secretly recorded gatherings of alleged key members of the Continuity IRA's leadership.
The house at Ardcarn Park was raided last November following three months of surveillance.
Marks, who denies the charges, was detained a month later.
A total of nine meetings were recorded, with each of the suspects said to have been present on at least one occasion.
Prosecutors claim the tapes revealed plans for attacks on Northern Ireland's transport infrastructure and future sniper strikes on high-profile targets.
Other topics allegedly discussed included membership of an outlawed organisation, weapons procurement and training, terrorist funding and plans to commit acts of terrorism.
Based on initial voice analysis it was claimed that Marks was present at three meetings in September and October 2014.
The court was told previously those in attendance talked about past operations, using household items for bomb-making, constructing improvised explosive devices and transporting a small weapon in a loaf of bread.
Opposing bail, the prosecution claimed the group also discussed future terrorist acts.
Defence lawyer argued that Marks should be released due to delays in the investigation.
With a final voice analysis report not due to be delivered until later this year, he claimed it could be next summer before any trial gets underway.
Ruling on the application today, Mr Justice Maguire acknowledged the perceived risk to the public.
However, he also took into account the potential delays in the case and health issues surrounding Marks' wife.
She is believed to have suffered a stroke at around the time of his arrest.
Granting bail, the judge ordered Marks to surrender his passport and any other travel documents.
The defendant was also banned from any contact with his co-accused. He must report to police twice a week and abide by curfew and electronic monitoring conditions.
Belfast Telegraph Digital