Northern Ireland

Colin Duffy secretly recorded on holiday, court hears

Colin Duffy Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Colin Duffy, 52, denies preparing and directing terrorism and being in the IRA

The trial of three men, allegedly recorded discussing a failed murder bid on police in 2013, has heard of other alleged secret recordings.

These allegedly involved one of the men, Colin Francis Duffy, 52, in Spain in 2013.

It is alleged he was attempting to set up an arms deal with a British Secret Service operative posing as an eastern European businessman on holiday.

The court heard Mr Duffy had been on holiday in Majorca in August 2013.

The prosecution claim this "Spanish material" - ruled in as evidence by a separate disclosure judge - provided a "sinister context" in which Mr Duffy showed a "preparedness, a propensity in seeking to obtain weapons and explosives".

In court in Belfast on Monday, Mr Justice O'Hara, was also told that although the recordings were circumstantial evidence, they "directly support the charges of membership and directing terrorism".

The judge is hearing the Diplock-style case alone - without a jury - at Belfast Crown Court.

Denials

Mr Duffy is on trial alongside Harry Joseph Fitzsimmons, 51, and Alex McCrory, 58.

All three men deny preparing and directing terrorism and IRA membership.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Harry Fitzsimons, 51, is accused of attempting to murder police officers

Mr Fitzsimmons and Mr McCrory are charged separately and deny attempting to murder police officers in a convoy in north Belfast on 5 December 2013, and possessing two AK47 assault rifles and ammunition allegedly used in that shooting.

Their trial at Belfast Crown Court has already seen and heard extracts of covert Secret Service videos and taped audio recordings allegedly of the three men, made in a park in Lurgan, County Armagh, the day after the convoy was fired on.

On Tuesday, the trial is expected to hear recordings made in the Spanish resort of Santa Ponsa.

On Monday, the court heard the audio recordings were between Mr Duffy and the operative and his pretend girlfriend.

The court heard the operative posed as a rich businessman returning to the Spanish resort with his girlfriend.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Alex McCrory, 58, is accused of attempting to murder members of the PSNI

They struck up a friendship with Mr Duffy after asking for a light for a cigarette.

The prosecution claimed Mr Duffy heard the businessman talking about fighting in Bosnia and saying he had "tanks".

The prosecution claim Mr Duffy asked if he could get "anything other than tanks".

In turn, he was told getting the materials were not the problem, "the difficulty was transport".

During several meetings, usually in a local bar, Mr Duffy allegedly said he could arrange shipment and was taped asking about C4 and Semtex explosives and complaining about having to use "fertiliser-based stuff".

The lawyer further alleged Mr Duffy asked about the possible supply of RPG rockets, detonators and AK47 assault rifles.

The prosecution said he also discussed Russian rifles and if they could penetrate flak jackets, and said that, for about £200,000 to £250,000, an amount of equipment "could be supplied in small batches".

The trial continues.

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