Belfast Telegraph

Derry man Bradley faces second trial on Syria terror camp charges

A Northern Ireland man acquitted of possessing hand grenades in Syria is to stand trial again on the charges a jury failed to reach any verdict.

Eamon Bradley, from Londonderry, was alleged to have been involved with a Syrian rebel group opposed to the government of President Bashar Assad and Islamic State.

At Belfast's Laganside Courthouse, on March 20, it was decided that the 28-year-old would stand trial again at Londonderry Crown Court on three charges of attending a terrorist training camp and receving instruction in the use of a grenade and an AK 47, a DShk and BKC firearms on differing dates between March and September 2014.

These were the charges the jury at his original trial failed to return any verdicts on following six hours deliberation during which they acquitted him of three further charges of having a grenade with intent to endanger life between May and October 2014.

Bradley was not in the Belfast court to hear he will stand trial again in late August, early September, following the summer recess. However, his defence QC Brian McCartney was able to secure a reduction in Bradley's bail terms.

While he will still have to report to the police, the need for a curfew between 11pm and 7am was lifted.

Prosecutor Ciaran Murphy QC told trial Judge Brian Sherrard it had been hoped to have the retrial after the Easter break, but because of witness difficulites this was not now the case.

He said that in the circumstances it was thought best that if the trial were to start in the middle of the last week of August, it could be completed by the beginning of September.

Judge Sherrard adjourned the case to be mentioned again early next month when the actual date for the retrial to be fixed.

At his original trial, the first case of its type taken in Northern Ireland, the prosecution claimed that Bradley had been truthful when he told detectives about his alleged activities in Syria after being spirited into the country from Turkey in a makeshift raft.

They also claimed that Bradley, arrested after images of him apparently posing with guns were posted on social media, was not a fantasist, and according to police interview notes, he attended a training camp was armed as a junior infantryman or mujahid fighter.

However, Mr McCartney, for the defence, said that Bradley was not Derry's answer to Britain's First World War desert adventurer Lawrence of Arabia and was simply in Turkey on holiday.

An expert witness also testified that the AK 47 assault rifles Bradley was photographed with could have been deactivated.

Mr McCartney also claimed one of the battles his client claimed to have been involved in, simply did not take place, and that there was there was no evidence to corroborate that he was even in Syria.

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