Northern Ireland

Sean Gerard Hughes to stand trial next year on charge of IRA membership

Laganside courts complex
Image caption Sean Gerard Hughes, 52, from Jonesborough appeared at Belfast Crown Court on Tuesday

A County Armagh man is to stand trial next year on charges of membership of the Provisional IRA and addressing meetings on behalf of the banned organisation.

Sean Gerard Hughes, 52, of Aghadavoyle Road, Jonesborough, appeared at Belfast Crown Court on Tuesday for an arraignment hearing.

He denied the charges, which related to alleged incidents in 2005.

A co-accused, Padraic Wilson, 55, will be arraigned next week.

Mr Hughes pleaded not guilty to a charge that on a date unknown between 1 February, 2005 and 7 March, 2005 in Belfast he "addressed a meeting and the purpose of his address was to encourage support for a proscribed organisation, namely, the Irish Republican Army, or to further its activities".

This related to a meeting in Clonard monastery in west Belfast.

The defendant further denied a similar charge of addressing a meeting at Holy Cross Church in Ardoyne in north Belfast, on a date between 25 February, 2005 and 9 March, 2005.

Mr Hughes pleaded not guilty to a charge that on a date unknown between 1 February, 2005 and 7 March, 2005 he "professed to belong to a proscribed organisation, namely, the Irish Republican Army".

He denied a fourth charge of belonging to a proscribed organsation between 1 January, 2005 and 31 March, 2005.

A co-accused in the case, Padraic Wilson, did not appear in the dock alongside Mr Hughes on Tuesday.

Mr Wilson, of Hamill Park, Andersonstown, west Belfast, will be arraigned next week, his defence lawyer told the court.

He faces two charges of addressing meetings for the purpose of support for the IRA and two of belonging to and professing to be a member of the IRA.

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