Covert MI5 recording is withdrawn from evidence in terror trial
A secret MI5 recording allegedly of four men discussing dissident IRA tactics is no longer being used as evidence by prosecutors, a non-jury trial has been told.
As a consequence, Belfast Crown Court was told the prosecution would be offering "no further evidence" in respect of four charges faced by two of the accused.
They relate to the possession of firearms, both with intent to endanger life and under suspicious circumstances, which had been denied by Dunmurry man Mark Gerard Heaney (52), of Lagmore Glen, and Robert Warnock O'Neill (41), of Bingnian Drive in west Belfast.
However, they remain on trial along with two others on five other terror-related charges, including IRA membership and conspiracy to attack suspected drug dealers.
They also deny collecting information on suspected dealers and the false imprisonment of a person.
At the start of the trial in November, Judge Patricia Smyth was told that the evidence of an expert on voice recognition, who analysed the bugged recordings from a house in Aspen Walk, Dunmurry, provided strong support in the cases of Heaney and Robert O'Neill.
However, it was decided yesterday that before the professor is called to give evidence, consideration may be given as to what impact, if any, the removal of one of the tapes might have on the analysis of the voice recordings and the conclusions reached.