Belfast Telegraph

IRA intimidation case 'victim' wants media ban lifted

A woman allegedly intimidated into co-operating with an internal Provisional IRA investigation more than a decade ago wants reporting restrictions lifted in the case, a court heard.

Her request could lead to the removal of a ban on identifying five people currently facing charges of membership of the organisation.

The case involves three men and two women who are accused of IRA activity.

All five are charged with belonging to a proscribed organisation on dates stretching back to 1999.

Four of them are accused of arranging, addressing or assisting in the management of an IRA meeting on named dates in 2000.

The two women and one of the men are also alleged to have used threats or menaces to get another woman to co-operate with an inquiry into claims she made against an IRA volunteer.

Earlier this month a judge at Belfast Magistrates Court |imposed a ban on publishing the names of the five defendants.

The prohibition was put in place to protect the identity of the alleged victim.

However, at a further procedural hearing yesterday it was revealed that she does not want the reporting restrictions.

As the woman sat in the public gallery, a Public Prosecution Service lawyer said: “She has asked for that to be lifted. I'm to make that application today.”

None of the five accused were present in court. But a lawyer for one of them, John Finucane, stressed that he was given no prior notice of the application.

Mr Finucane argued that there was more than one alleged victim in the case.

He also told District Judge Mervyn Bates that when he originally sought anonymity orders it was not done “on a whim”.

The solicitor said: “Not only was there no objection from the PPS, but the PPS on that date instructed that if I hadn't made the application they would have.”

The prosecution lawyer confirmed the move was due to new information only just supplied to her.

Judge Bates said he was not prepared to lift the restrictions at this stage.

Adjourning the case for three weeks, he directed the PPS to put reasons for lifting the ban in writing before the next hearing.

The judge added: “It's up to the prosecution to make the case why it should no longer exist.”

Belfast Telegraph

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