Northern Ireland

Legal bid over Londonderry bomb accused Gary McDaid fails

Gary McDaid
Image caption Gary McDaid from Derry was granted bail on Monday

Prosecutors have failed in a bid to halt the release on bail of a Londonderry man charged over the discovery of four mortar bombs.

A High Court judge refused to hear the planned appeal against Gary McDaid being released from custody.

This was due to a failure to properly comply with notification requirements.

Mr McDaid, 38, from Glenowen Park, was arrested after police stopped a motorcycle and a van containing primed mortars in the city in March.

He is charged with having explosives with intent to endanger life, conspiracy to cause an explosion and possessing a van for terrorist purposes.

Mr McDaid is jointly charged together with another man.

He was granted bail at Derry Magistrates' Court on Monday.

He has been in isolated confinement and went on a so-called dirty protest to avoid alleged harassment and intimidation from other inmates.

His lawyer claimed earlier this month that Mr McDaid had developed an eye condition that could lead to blindness, caused by not seeing natural light for 130 days.

A psychologist's report was also obtained in relation to post traumatic stress disorder.

Following the deputy district judge's decision to grant bail, the prosecution confirmed their intention to appeal to the High Court.

Although notification was given within the required two-hour time limit, an issue arose over whether it had been properly served on Mr McDaid and then the court clerk.

The defence barrister argued that the breach of magistrates' court rules meant there was no jurisdiction to hear the appeal.

"What's at issue here is the veracity of the process and the ability of the process to withstand scrutiny," he said.

Counsel for the prosecution accepted notification had been defective but claimed this was "not fatal" to hearing the appeal.

However, Mr Justice Weatherup held there had been non-compliance with the relevant rules.

He said: "I consider that strict requirements must be imposed in relation to the treatment of such an appeal.

"Written notices must be given in a particular form, manner and time, and I interpret the scheme to require mandatory requirements in relation to those conditions."

He added: "I conclude that this appeal is deemed to have been disposed of when the notice in the proper form was not served on the clerk of the court yesterday.

"Accordingly I do not need to hear the appeal because there is no appeal and the prisoner is to be released."

Under the terms of Mr McDaid's bail a cash surety of £25,000 and the deeds to a house are to be lodged in court.

He must live at his mother's home, surrender his passport and cannot leave the jurisdiction.

Electronic monitoring and night-time curfew conditions were also imposed.

A further ban was put on him attending any demonstrations or gatherings linked to dissident republicanism.