A convicted terrorist has been found guilty of fuel laundering offences after a contested hearing before Dungannon Magistrates Court.
Gareth Malachy Doris (39) of Gortnaskea Place, Coalisland, disputed any involvement in fuel laundering despite DNA evidence being found at three sites, one in Tyrone and two in Armagh.
The court heard police and HMRC officials attended J&K Coaches in Ardboe on March 19, 2014. Four people were on the site, one of whom was believed to be Doris, but he fled on foot.
The others were Kevin Quinn (40) and his brother Jim Quinn (45), both of Ardean Close, Cookstown, who own the coach company. They were both later charged with fraudulent evasion of duty on hydrocarbon oil and having vehicles with laundered fuel in the tanks.
The charges against the elder brother were withdrawn and the younger brother pleaded guilty to both. A fourth male, John Thomas O'Neill (46) of Sandy Row, Coalisland, pleaded guilty to a single count of fraudulent evasion of duty.
Both cases have been adjourned for pre-sentence reports.
However Doris, who was sentenced to 10 years in jail after a device was thrown at Coalisland police station in 1997, denied being at the premises or having any involvement in the operation.
A car located in the coach yard was registered to him and a phone was discovered inside. Although this was not registered to Doris, his DNA was recovered from the battery. He claimed to have loaned his car to someone else, but declined an opportunity to attend with police to provide a name of the person or to make a statement. During police interview he made a pre-prepared statement denying involvement, then gave "no comment" replies to all other questions. A search of the DNA database threw up matches to two fuel laundering sites.
A defence barrister argued all the items which were recovered with his client's DNA were "moveable objects" and as such did not firmly place Doris at the three sites.
District Judge John Meehan ruled there was a case to answer.
Ordering convictions on three charges, Judge Meehan said: "The defendant stood back and at police interview gave a prepared statement which gave rise to more questions than answers."
He added: "There is no reasonable doubt whatsoever he was connected to all three sites."
His case has been adjourned to link with the two co-accused for sentence next month.