Northern Ireland

North Belfast bomb; Conal Corbett, 20, linked to bomb plot given suspended sentence

Laganside Courts Complex
Image caption Conal Corbett was given a suspended sentence

A man who had been linked to the discovery of a bomb in north Belfast has received a suspended sentence.

Conal Corbett, 20, from Oisin House, Victoria Parade in the city has already spent seven months on remand for four terrorist-related offences.

The judge said there was nothing to suggest Corbett was involved in preparing or setting the bomb in place.

At Belfast Crown Court on Monday, he was sentenced to 18 months suspended for two years.

Corbett was linked to the incident because of the purchase of top-up cards for mobile phones used in the bomb plot.

The judge said the bomb did not go off, but, it had the potential to cause "fatal injury to police officers." A controlled explosion was carried out on the device at the Crumlin Road junction with Brompton Park on 1 May.

In court on Monday, the judge took into account that Corbett was just 18 years old when he committed the offences.

At a previous court hearing, Corbett was charged with collecting documents and having articles likely to be of use to terrorists and possessing a handwritten note about a rifle and ammunition.

He subsequently pleaded guilty to four offences - two counts of possessing items for terrorist-related offences, namely the mobile phone and two top-up vouchers; collecting or making records of information for terrorism and also possessing documents useful for terrorism.

His defence barrister said that Corbett's offences came at a time when there was an "element of naivety". He called him a "teenager with misguided romantic notions".

The barrister said that, while on remand, Corbett had been moved from Hydebank YOC to the dissident wing at Maghaberry due to a death threat, before being released on bail.

He said Corbett was now in a relationship with an older woman which has "brought a degree of maturity and insight into his life" and that said the incident had been a "stark wake-up call" for both him and his family.

Sentencing him, the judge said that he was taking into account both Corbett's age at the time, and also the fact that he had already served seven months in prison.

He warned him to "steer clear of criminal behaviour" or risk being sent back to prison.

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