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Trio accused of terror offences acquitted after Crown case collapses

By Ashleigh McDonald

Published 23/10/2015

Shane Duffy
Shane Duffy
Damien Duffy and Paul Duffy

Three relatives of leading dissident republican Colin Duffy who were due to stand trial on terrorist offences have been acquitted of all charges after prosecutors refused to reveal details about car tracking devices.

The Co Armagh trio - Shane Duffy, Paul John Duffy and Damien Daniel Duffy - attended Belfast Crown Court where they were informed that the Crown was "offering no further evidence against any of the accused".

All three were due to face trial later this year on terrorist-related offences. These had included conspiring to murder police or prison officers between November 28, 2009 and December 11, 2011.

Mr Justice Colton returned not guilty verdicts on all charges before telling the men they were formally discharged.

Following the acquittal, the Duffys were asked, but declined, to make a comment.

In a statement, the PPS said the prosecution case relied upon evidence obtained from tracking devices that had been installed in vehicles.

But the case collapsed after a judge said sensitive information about the surveillance devices must be shared with the defendants.

"The prosecution were unable to comply with the judge's order and in those circumstances could not rely upon the tracking evidence.

"Therefore, having reviewed the remaining evidence, it was decided that the test for prosecution was no longer met and that the proceedings should be discontinued."

At an earlier court hearing, the three denied all the charges levelled against them.

As well as conspiracy to murder PSNI or Prison Service officers, 50-year-old Paul Duffy from Ailsbury Gardens in Lurgan - who is a brother of Colin Duffy - faced a further five charges, namely four counts of preparing terrorist acts, and a charge of conspiring to cause an explosion.

His brother Damien Duffy (45) from Campbell Walk in Lurgan had a total of three charges levelled against him. As well as the conspiracy to murder charge, Damien Duffy was also charged with preparing terrorist acts by gathering information for an attack on police or prison staff.

Their cousin Shane Duffy, who is 44 and whose Co Armagh address cannot be published due to a reporting restriction, faced a total of four charges.

In addition to conspiracy to murder, he was charged with three counts of preparing terrorist acts. These relate to gathering information to be used in an attack on police or prison staff.

The two brothers and cousin were arrested following a major surveillance operation in Co Armagh into alleged dissident republican activity in the area.

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