Belfast Telegraph

Dissident accused is denied bail over false claim of a job

By John Cassidy

A Co Down man charged over an alleged dissident spy plot linked to an ex-policeman had his bail variation thrown out of court for making a false job claim.

Ciaran Magee (26), now of Commons Hall Road in Newry, is currently awaiting trial on charges of preparing acts of terrorism, possessing articles for use in terrorism and trying to collect information on a retired PSNI officer.

At Belfast Crown Court yesterday a defence barrister moved an application to vary Magee's current bail signing conditions to allow him to "avail of a job opportunity".

He told Judge Geoffrey Miller QC that this was because the job at Craigavon-based Eishtec included shift work which would affect his current signing arrangement.

The investigating officer in the case told the court under oath that he was notified about the application on November 12, and two days later received an email about the variation.

He said the email from the defence solicitor provided "scant details" about the variation in bail signing.

The detective sergeant told Judge Miller: "I contacted the company, as I wasn't satisfied.

"I spoke to the operations manager. I was told that although the applicant had an interview on November 9, the offer of employment was declined as he had been untruthful at interview."

The detective said that Magee told Eishtec that he had not been able to work on medical grounds when in fact "he had been on remand (in custody) for 18 months".

"The company told me that he was told on November 9 that the job offer was declined," added the detective.

The defence barrister said that he not been informed by the Crown of its position before making his application for the bail variation.

Judge Miller said the evidence of the detective sergeant "completely contradicts" that of Magee, who he said had made a "false application for bail variation".

"He was told on November 9 that the job offer had been declined and this application, on his instructions, proceeded on a false premise."

The defence barrister told the judge that the evidence from the detective sergeant had "come out of left field this morning".

In the light of the police officer's evidence to the court, Judge Miller said: "I am refusing this application."

No details were given in court about the charges Magee is facing.

However, during a High Court bail application in November 2016, a senior judge was told a bomb discovered in an attic of a Lurgan house had been stored there following a failed bid to kill police in Co Armagh.

The device had been returned there following its unsuccessful deployment against police at a private residential area in Tullygally, Craigavon on August 31, according to the prosecution.

Prosecutors claimed dissident republican terror group the 'New IRA' had unsuccessfully deployed the bomb in the Craigavon area in August 2016 in a bid to kill police officers.

It was also alleged that a camera used to film wildlife was secreted at the home of a retired police officer and another strategic location as part of terrorist information gathering.

Magee, then of Lake Street, Lurgan, was arrested after the bomb was seized during raids in the town in September 2016.

Belfast Telegraph

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