Belfast Telegraph

Man accused of leading dissidents refused bail

By Alan Erwin

A taxi driver accused of directing a dissident republican terror group must remain in custody, a High Court judge has ruled.

Mr Justice Treacy refused bail to Thomas Mellon after describing a note he is alleged to have written as displaying "a chilling disregard for human life".

Mellon, of Rathmore Road in Londonderry, was arrested after the letter believed to have been smuggled into Maghaberry Prison was seized last week.

The 38-year-old father of four denies charges of directing terrorism and membership of a proscribed organisation.

The note, written on joined up pieces of cigarette paper and wrapped in cling film, was taken from a visitor to the jail. The court heard it contained a communication to members of the so-called New IRA being held in custody.

DNA and handwriting tests on the note backed the contention that Mellon was the author, prosecutors claimed.

Defence counsel Kieran Mallon QC insisted his client denies having written the letter.

He also disputed that the contents justified a charge of directing terrorism.

However, Mr Justice Treacy ruled that bail should be refused.

He said: "There is strong prima facie evidence of (potential) further offending of the gravest kind."

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