Northern Ireland

32 CSM man charged under terrorism legislation

A leading member of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement has been charged with committing an offence under terrorism legislation.

Gary Donnelly, 39, of Sackville Court in Derry, appeared at Londonderry Magistrates' Court, on Friday.

After he was charged, the defendant said: "It is absolutely ridiculous. I have been set up for my political beliefs."

He was released on bail of £1,000 to appear in court again on 20 September.

As part of his bail conditions, Mr Donnelly was ordered to observe a 2300 to 0800 BST curfew and to report to police once a week.

District Judge Barney McElholm said the defendant would face custody if he breached those conditions.

Outside the Bishop Street courthouse, 40 of his supporters gathered before the hearing began.

As the investigating police officer left court the crowd shouted verbal abuse and a plastic bottle was thrown at a police car.

Charge

Image caption Mr Donnelly said he was being targeted because of his political beliefs

Mr Donnelly is accused of having a mobile phone in circumstances that lead to the reasonable suspicion that its possession was in connection with the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism.

The charge relates to three pipe bomb attacks in September 2009.

During the hearing, a detective constable told the court that the charge against the defendant related to claims of responsibility by the Real IRA on 11 September 2009.

He said the claims were about "two pipe bomb attacks and a punishment shooting" on that date.

The detective constable said the defendant was charged with the offence as a result of statements made by journalist, Eamonn MacDermott, who received claim of responsibility and on the basis of extensive telephone inquiries.

Applying for bail, defence solicitor Paddy McGurk, said that one month after the pipe bombs and shooting incident, the police contacted Mr MacDermott and took a statement from him.

Mr McGurk said Mr MacDermott told the police that the person who made the phone call of responsibility was not Mr Donnelly.

He added that Mr MacDermott was again interviewed by the police on Thursday.

During his interview, Mr MacDermott's phone was seized.

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