Northern Ireland

John Brady coffin shots accused banned from Mass

John Brady
Image caption Shots were fired over the coffin during John Brady's funeral

A man facing charges over the firing of shots over the coffin of a Strabane republican has been banned from attending his memorial Mass.

Conor Casey, of Forthglen, Cookstown, faces charges of managing a meeting on 8 October, 2009 in support of a proscribed organisation - the Real IRA.

He is also accused of aiding and abetting the possession of three firearms and ammunition on the day.

Mr Casey, 39, had been seeking to get his bail conditions altered.

He wanted to attend a first anniversary memorial Mass on Wednesday for John Brady.

Brady, a convicted murderer, was found dead in police custody at Strand Road PSNI station last year.

At his funeral, four men dressed in paramilitary-style uniform and black masks flanked the coffin outside Brady's sister's home.

One man shouted orders in Irish and three fired shots into the air over the coffin, which was draped in a tricolour with a black beret and gloves on top.

Part of Mr Casey's bail conditions are that he does not attempt to address, organise or attend public meetings of protest.

At Strabane Magistrates Court last week, his solicitor Craig Patten asked that his client's bail conditions be altered to allow him to attend the first anniversary memorial Mass.

He said he wished to attend the service in order to pay his sympathy to the deceased's family.

However on Monday, District Judge Liam McNally refused the application and suggested that Mr Casey could call to the family home at another time to offer his condolences and could attend an alternative Mass to pay his respects.

Judge McNally said: "There is no reason he needs to go to that mass to offer his condolences.

"Mass is not a public gathering as stipulated by the bail conditions, however it is year down the road since the funeral and there is the possibility of a replication of what occurred then.

"Many of the same people will be present. He can go to Mass on his own in memory of Mr Brady."

Mr Casey will appear back before Strabane Court on 28 October.

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