Colin Duffy trial: Lawyer questions verification of MI5 tapes

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Colin Duffy appearing outside court in 2017Image source, Pacemaker
Image caption,
Colin Duffy is on trial in relation to an attack on a police convoy in north Belfast in 2013

The trial of three men accused of IRA membership has heard there is no independent verification of MI5 audio recordings allegedly made of the suspects in a County Armagh park.

Colin Duffy, Henry Fitzsimons and Alex McCrory deny preparing and directing terrorism, and membership of the IRA.

Mr Fitzsimons and Mr McCrory also deny attempting to murder police officers in 2013.

The trial previously heard MI5 planted listening devices in a park in Lurgan.

Belfast Crown Court was told that audio and video devices were used to record alleged meetings involving the suspects in the wake of a dissident republican gun attack on police vehicles on the Crumlin Road in north Belfast in December 2013.

The non-jury trial heard the recordings were downloaded to a USB stick and uploaded to the "Marshbrook" computer system at MI5 headquarters in London.

On Thursday, an MI5 officer, referred to as PIN 4039, told the court that system had since been "decommissioned" and replaced.

A defence barrister for Mr Duffy asked how the data was downloaded and uploaded.

He said: "Do you agree that there is no independent verification of the audio tapes apart from your evidence here today?"

The witness said "that aspect of how the data was transferred from the USB device to the computer system is by my oral evidence".

"It would appear we are relying on my evidence."

Mr Duffy (52), Mr Fitzsimons (51) and Mr McCrory (58), whose addresses cannot be given at this time, deny all of the charges against them.

The trial continues.