Belfast Telegraph

PSNI murder bid accused 'wasn't told proper rights'

A man accused of attempting to murder a PSNI officer was not told that exercising his right to silence in the Irish Republic left him liable to prosecution in Northern Ireland, a court has heard
A man accused of attempting to murder a PSNI officer was not told that exercising his right to silence in the Irish Republic left him liable to prosecution in Northern Ireland, a court has heard

By Ruaidhri Giblin

A man accused of attempting to murder a PSNI officer was not told that exercising his right to silence in the Irish Republic left him liable to prosecution in Northern Ireland, a court has heard.

It came as a hearing into the proposed extradition of two men to Northern Ireland opened at the High Court in Dublin.

Dublin men Ciaran Maguire (29), of Kippure Park, Finglas South, and Sean Paul Farrell (32), of Stannaway Road, Kimmage, are wanted in Northern Ireland for the alleged attempted murder of a police officer in Eglinton, Co Londonderry, in 2015 and possession of explosive substances with intent to endanger life.

Both men face life imprisonment on both counts if found guilty.

According to a European Arrest Warrant, the officer's wife, also a serving PSNI officer, awoke in the early hours of June 18, 2015, looked out her bedroom window and saw a man in the driveway on the ground at the driver's door of her husband's car.

The man appeared to be working on something underneath the car which was subsequently confirmed to be an improvised explosive device, according to the warrant.

That same night, Mr Maguire and Mr Farrell were arrested in Co Donegal on suspicion of membership of an unlawful organisation, the court heard.

Their clothing was seized and DNA and fingerprint samples taken.

They were also interviewed and all the evidence gathered, including transcripts and videos of those interviews, was sent to the PSNI.

The men's lawyers made objections to their proposed surrender to Northern Ireland authorities in the High Court yesterday.

Counsel for Mr Farrell, Giollaiosa O Lideadha SC, said his client exercised his right to silence when he was being interviewed in Milford Garda Station.

But as far as Mr Farrell knew, Mr O Lideadha said his client was being questioned for the purpose of a prosecution in the Republic.

He was not told, or warned, Mr O Lideadha said, that if he exercised his right to silence in the Garda station, he was liable to be prosecuted in Northern Ireland.

There was a lawyer present in the Garda station giving him advice on the law in the Republic but not on the law in Northern Ireland.

Mr O Lideadha said the trial process in Northern Ireland allows a judge to call an accused into the witness box and say, in front of a jury, 'if you don't get into the witness box, it will be permissible to draw adverse inferences against you'.

"That cannot be done here," Mr O Lideadha said, adding that in the Republic's jurisdiction, a jury "must be told in every case" that if an accused does not give evidence, no adverse inferences can be drawn against them.

Mr O Lideadha said the combination of particular factors in this case, together with the powers of a Northern Irish court to draw adverse inferences from a failure to get into the witness box, went beyond the "bounds of acceptability" and fell below "minimal standards of constitutional protection".

It was such an egregious breach of fundamental constitutional rights that the High Court in Dublin should refuse to order the men's surrender, he submitted.

The hearing continues today before Mr Justice Donald Binchy.

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