Belfast Telegraph

Belfast terror charge man not allowed to FaceTime relatives over Christmas

By Ashleigh McDonald

A Crown Court Judge refused to vary bail conditions imposed upon a Belfast man who wanted access to the internet so he could FaceTime relatives over the festive period.

Carl Reilly and a co-accused are to stand trial on dissident republican terror charges arising from a surveillance operation.

Reilly (41), from Pollard Close in the west of the city, has been charged with directing a terrorist organisation - namely the IRA - between January 2014 and October 2015. He has also been charged with belonging to the same proscribed organisation on the same dates.

An application to vary aspects of Reilly's bail was made at Belfast Crown Court today.

One strand of the application, which was launched by Reilly's barrister Dessie Hutton, was to relax the current condition which bans him from having a mobile phone with internet access, or using a computer with internet access.

Mr Hutton asked Judge Patricia Smyth to relax this restriction to allow Reilly to communicate over Christmas with friends and relatives "outside this jurisdiction" via WhatsApp, FaceTime and email.

The barrister said: "Ten years ago this restriction would not have been looked upon as a hardship. As a sign of the times we are living in now, no internet access is something that affects his daily life.

Mr Hutton also asked for a variation on the signing aspect of Reilly's bail conditions. He is currently ordered to sign with police five times a week, at 7pm.

After revealing that Reilly has recently been informed by police that he is under threat, Mr Hutton asked that the set time his client signs with police is widened.

Before she gave her decision, Judge Smyth sought the opinion of a Crown barrister on the application to vary conditions.

The Crown barrister said: "At the time these conditions were imposed this July, they were deemed to be necessary and proportionate to prevent re-offending."

Judge Smyth then extended the times Reilly can sign with police, but refused to relax the ban on internet access.

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