08 December 2005

Court withdraws terrorism charges


A man arrested as part of the Northern Bank robbery investigation has had the charges against him dropped.

Peter Kelly, 30, from Drumboniff Road, Newry, had been charged with collecting and recording information likely to be of use to terrorists.

The charges related to his job as a BT technician seconded to the Department of Finance and Personnel at Stormont.

It had been claimed computers seized at his workplace contained details of civil servants and prison staff.

At his first court appearance a police inspector claimed the computer equipment contained the details of 36,000 civil servants, including 3,300 working for the police and 70 prison staff.

'Never charged'

After the charges were withdrawn at Belfast Magistrates Court, Mr Kelly's solicitor, Niall Murphy, said there had been "no justification to link his client's name to the bank robbery".

"He was never charged with any offence in connection with the robbery," Mr Murphy said.

"The information that he accessed was freely available to many other people in his workplace."

The solicitor said Mr Kelly would be pursuing his case with the Police Ombudsman and would issue proceedings against the chief constable and any other relevant party for malicious prosecution.

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