Brian Carron terror charges dropped
Charges against a Coalisland man described by police as a suspected member of dissident republican group the New IRA have been dropped, a week before the case scheduled to be committed to trial.
In a sudden change, Dungannon Magistrates' Court was told the case was no longer proceeding.
It is understood new evidence came to light making it necessary for prosecutors to reconsider the test for prosecution. For this police will need additional time to make further enquiries and obtain evidence.
As this will not be completed in time to meet the scheduled preliminary enquiry, prosecutors considered it appropriate to withdraw the charges and proceed by way of report to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS).
It means the PPS could again attempt a prosecution.
Brian John Carron (34) of Colliers Lane was accused of firearms offences which the court had been told was one of the largest hauls recovered by police in the last 10 years.
Members of the group Saoradh were in attendance for the hearing on Wednesday.
It was alleged on dates between 24 May 2010 and 5 April 2011, Carron was unlawfully and maliciously in possession of a quantity of Semtex, rocket propellant, home grenade initiators, glucose powder, improvised power units, improvised incendiary devices, eight detonators, rocket propellant, and component parts of an improvised rocket system.
On the same dates it was alleged he had four AKM assault rifles, six loaded magazines and a quantity of 7.62mm short ammunition. Finally, Carron was accused of possessing two mobile phones and four vehicles in preparation for an act of terrorism.
He first appeared in court over a year ago, when bail was initially refused. This was appealed at High Court, where despite police objections, Carron was released on extremely strict terms.
These included a ban on leaving Northern Ireland, a £10,000 surety, surrender of passport, signing with police, electronic tagging and a 10pm curfew.
A detective previously told the court, Carron’s DNA was found on one of the seized AKM rifles recovered from a car.
During police interview he was given numerous opportunities to provide explanations but refused to answer any questions.
Defence lawyers argued the DNA recovered was a mixed profile with “absolutely no evidence” linking Carron to the murder of the PC Ronan Kerr, and the charges apparently seemed to be more general.
The charges against Carron arose from a linked investigation on the undercar booby trap killing of Constable Kerr on April 2, 2011.
Previously the court was told the case was on track for committal to trial, a hearing for was listed for next week.
However on Wednesday, a lawyer appearing for the Public Prosecution Service said “All matters are to be withdrawn.”
Carron was released of all bail terms and told he was free to go.
There was no reaction to the withdrawal from Saoradh members who sat in the public gallery although outside they shook hands with Carron and each other.
Belfast Telegraph Digital