WITNESS : NAME ALL FIVE ALLEGED PROVOS IN COURT
A PROSECUTION witness in a Provisional IRA membership case claims police are opposing attempts to have the defendants named in open court. The West Belfast women, who says she was forced into cooperating with an IRA investigation more than a decade ago, has argued that the reporting restriction potentially puts her life at risk by ” fuelling speculation within the community “.
The highly unusual order, granted using Contempt of Court legislation, bans identification of three men and two women charged with belonging to a proscribed organisation between 1999 and 2000. During a short hearing last month the prosecution said the alleged victim wants the restriction to be lifted. However, she claims police have since told her they intend to challenge her request. Yesterday police said : ” As with any court case the final decision whether to lift reporting restrictions lies with the court and is based on the wishes of all of the victims involved in a case. ” All involved have to be in agreement before a court could lift the reporting restrictions on any case.” Believed to be virtually unprecedented in any paramilitary case.
All five defendants are charged with belonging to a proscribed organisation on dates between September 1999 and 2000, namely the Provisional Irish Republican Army, as well as organising a meeting in support of the PIRA between August 1 and August 31 2000. During a hearing in August of this year, in which the defendants – three men and two women – did not appear, a ban on revealing their names was granted at Belfast Magistrates Court at the request of the defence and without objection from the prosecution. The restriction was granted under Contempt of Court legislation. However, later last month the prosecution said the alleged victim now wanted the reporting restrictions lifted. The case was adjourned until September 20, when a magistrate will consider arguments.
MEDIA SHOULD HAVE THE RIGHT TO NAME FIVE IRA ACCUSED : ALLEGED VICTIM !
However, the alleged victim has said she has since been contacted by the PSNI who have stated despite her wishes they intend to challenge the lifting of the ban. She has claimed that keeping the restrictions in place is ” Fuelling speculation within the community and potentially putting my life at risk “. ” I am also of the opinion that the media should have the right to name the defendants “, she said. A spokeswomen for the PSNI said yesterday : ” As there are currently reporting restrictions on this case we cannot comment on it. Reporting restrictions granted under the Contempt of Court Act, once only applied in the most extreme of circumstances, are now being enforced more frequently in the courts in the North of Ireland.
While the PIRA case is believed to be the first time legislation has been used in a paramilitary trail of this type, there have been similar reporting restrictions issued in other cases in recent months. Last week District Judge Paul Copeland, sitting at Banbridge Magistrates Court, ordered the identity of a man accused of possessing indecent images of children to be with-held for his ” health and safety “. The 50-year-old Co Down man was released on bail. In August a Derry magistrate banned the media from naming three men charged with possession of drugs worth an estimated £150,000 after defence lawyers argued that releasing their details would place them at risk of attack from dissident republicans. A 27-year-old women described in court in Derry as ” a significant figure ” in the supply of drugs was granted anonymity last week along with a 19-year-old women charged over a £13,000 drugs haul. They were identified only by their court numbers during the hearing on Friday after a judge was told there could be threats to their lives by ” third parties “.
WITH MANY THANKS TO : ALLISON MORRIS, IRISH NEWS.
- Grand-niece of Provo legend endured horrific sexual abuse (fiannaiochta.wordpress.com)
- Ban on Naming Ira Accused (fiannaiochta.wordpress.com)
- IRA inmate wins parole after suing UK over secrecy (utsandiego.com)
- PSNI lifts secrecy on key police document (fiannaiochta.wordpress.com)
- “court orders prohibit the media from reporting either the identities or addresses of the defendants…” (sluggerotoole.com)
- IRA intimidation case ‘victim’ wants media ban lifted (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)