Pair guilty over IRA speech at cemetery
Two Londonderry men have admitted a terrorist-related offence after an Easter Rising commemoration in the City Cemetery which was addressed by a masked man.
Ciaran Anthony Boyle (30) and 53-year old Anthony Michael Lancaster were each charged with helping arrange a meeting they knew was to be addressed by a person who belonged a proscribed organisation, namely the IRA.
The charge was brought under the Terrorism Act 2000, and was initially denied by both men.
During the first day of the trial at Belfast Crown Court yesterday, a prosecuting barrister said the charge arose from an event in the City Cemetery on April 9, 2012, which was organised by the 32 County Sovereignty Movement.
Judge Sandra Crawford, who was presiding over the non-jury Diplock trial, was told it was the Crown's case that Boyle and Lancaster assisted in the management of the meeting, at which a masked man made a speech on behalf of ONH/Real IRA.
Lancaster, from Circular Road in the Creggan area of Derry, was described in court as being the master of ceremonies at the event, while co-accused Boyle, from The Meadows, was accused of raising and lowering the Irish flag.
As the trial was due to enter its second day the legal teams for both men asked for time to consult with their clients. The two defence barristers acting on behalf of the pair then asked that they be rearraigned on the single charge.
When the charge was put to both Boyle and Lancaster, they each replied "guilty".
Judge Crawford granted a request for both men to be released on continuing bail, and they will be sentenced at the same court on October 15.