Belfast Telegraph

Jury of Derry man facing Syria terrorism charges fail to reach verdict

By Michael Donnelly

A jury, for the second time, in the first case of its kind in Northern Ireland, failed to reach a definitive verdict on a Londonderry man, turned Muslim convert, accused of terrorism in the Middle East three years ago.

At the end of the first trial in February last, a Derry Crown Court jury acquitted Eamon Bradley of possessing explosives, but were hung on the more substantive charges of attending terrorist training camps in Syria and receiving instruction in the use of weapons and explosives.

On Tuesday, following an 11-day trial, over five weeks in Omagh, another Londonderry jury, after almost three hours deliberation, also told Judge Brian Sherrard that even if granted further time, there was no prospect of them reaching any verdict either.

Then through their madam fore person when asked if they had reach any verdict in which at least ten of them were agreed, replied "No".

The first indication of a possible split in the ranks of the jury of six men and five women, came within ten minutes of them being asked on Monday to retire to begin their deliberations.

In a note sent into court regarding clarification on some of the evidence, the jury also inquired if they had to bring in verdicts, on which they were 'unanimous', all agreed.

As with the last trial it was left to prosecuting QC Ciaran Murphy to ask Judge Sherrard to adjourn proceedings again for a week when they will be 'mentioned again'.

Bradley, (28) originally from Melmore Gardens in Creggan, but now with an address in Benview Estate in the Coshquin area of the city, is accused of attending Syrian terrorist camps and receiving training in the use of firearms, including an AK47, DShK 38 and a BKC machine gun and a grenade between March and September 2014.

The "bedrock" of the prosecution case was that Bradley's alleged confessions during eight interviews in which he told detectives of joining Syrian rebels opposed to President Bashar Assad and Islamic State, were true.

However, the defence claim that Bradley, a man unsure of the correct spelling of his own first name, and has even difficulty in remembering his date of birth, alleged admissions were unreliable.

And that far from being a Muslim fundamentalist, Bradley was no desert adventurer like Lawrence of Arabia either, and his only crime was being an attention seeking fantasist.

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