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West Belfast man to plead not guilty to Continuity IRA membership

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The defendant was released on continuing bail

The defendant was released on continuing bail

The defendant was released on continuing bail

A west Belfast man is pleading not guilty to a charge of belonging to the Continuity IRA, a court has been told.

Niall Sands, 33, is also denying allegations that he attacked a neighbour during a confrontation last year.

Sands, of Navan Green, appeared at the city's Magistrates' Court on Thursday to confirm his attitude to the prosecution.

He faces charges of belonging to a proscribed organisation, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and criminal damage to a door and window.

The case relates to an incident in the Andersonstown area on September 19, 2019.

A previous court was told of claims that Sands squared up to the other man and told him he was a member of the Continuity IRA.

At that time defence lawyers argued the membership charge was based only on the complainant's account, describing it as an alleged declaration with no substance.

Sands, who is currently on bail, attended again today to state if he will be contesting the case against him.

Defence barrister Patrick Taylor said a cheque had been sent to deal with the alleged criminal damage.

Mr Taylor also confirmed: "It's not guilty to the other two charges."

With a contest date yet to be fixed, Sands was released on continuing bail.

Belfast Telegraph