Northern Ireland

Colin Duffy trial: Second voice expert provides analysis

Colin Duffy appearing outside Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption Colin Duffy, 52, is on trial in relation to an attack on a police convoy in December 2013 - pictured here outside court in 2017

A second voice analyst has told a court that covert recordings of three men discussing a failed murder attempt on police provides support they are the suspects.

The recordings allegedly capture Colin Duffy, 52, Henry Fitzsimons, 50, and Alex McCrory, 58, discussing a gun attack on a police convoy.

Last week, another voice analyst said the recordings supported the claims.

All three deny preparing and directing terrorism and being in the IRA.

Mr Fitzsimons and Mr McCrory also deny attempting to murder police officers on 5 December 2013.

The men are also charged with possessing two AK47 assault rifles and ammunition used in the attack.

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

'Not fingerprints or DNA'

Last week Professor Peter French, a forensic voice analyst with over 35 years experience, told the court a review of his findings, including analysis of other materials, "provided modest to strong support", in the cases of Mr Duffy and Mr Fitzsimons, while it allegedly provided 'very strong support' for it being Mr McCrory.

Dr Christin Kirchhubel told the court her findings provided similar supporting findings given her own analysis of the various alleged recordings.

Dr Kirchhubel, a former associate of Prof French, said the recordings ranged from "very poor, some of it was average, and some of it was very good in places".

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

She said that despite some low level background noises, the materials were "good enough for analysis".

She claimed comparison recordings of Mr Duffy provided "moderately strong support" he was one of the three suspects.

She said comparison recordings of Mr Fitzsimons' voice were "moderately supportive", while there was "strong support" Mr McCrory was also one of the speakers.

Different analysis

Dr Kirchhubel agreed there were differences in findings made by defence experts, but she claimed they could be explained because in some cases the analysis was carried out using a difference analytical "approach" from that adopted by her.

She said voice analysis was opinion based, and her findings were made with regard to her training, her ongoing professional development and the amount of case work she has been involved.

However, she discounted the suggestion that to have properly carried out her work she would have needed access to the actual recording devices used in the undercover operation.

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

Dr Kirchhubel said the limitations of the recordings were apparent from the recordings themselves.

Mr Duffy, Mr Fitzsimons and Mr McCrory were allegedly covertly recorded and videoed in an MI5 operation in Lurgan the day after a gun attack on a police convoy on north Belfast in which two gunmen fired 14 shots at three PSNI vehicles.

The trial continues.

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