08 December 2005

IRA member freed on bail


08/12/2005 - 13:07:16

A Dublin Sinn Féin member who was jailed for four years for IRA membership was freed on bail by the Court of Criminal Appeal today pending the outcome of a legal challenge to anti terrorist legislation.

The court freed Niall Binead on his own bond of €1,000 and two independent sureties of €10,000 each. It also ordered him to sign on twice a week at Crumlin Garda Sation, to surrender his passport and not to associate with anyone convicted of a scheduled offence.

Ms Justice Fidelma Macken said the court was satisfied that having regard to the changed circumstances in which Binead will not get an early appeal and in which the Supreme Court will hear legal arguments which will affect the appeal it was justified to grant bail to Binead.

Binead (aged 36), of Faughart Road, Crumlin was jailed for four years by the Special Criminal Court last year after he was convicted of membership of an illegal organisation on October 10, 2002. His co accused, Kenneth Donohoe (aged 27), of Sundale Ave, Mountain View , Tallaght, was freed on bail by the Court of Criminal Appeal last month.

During their trial the court heard that gardaí found a list of TD's - including three former Justice Ministers - at Binead's home. Binead is a former secretary of a south Dublin Sinn Féin cumann and was a close associate of Sinn Féin TD for Dublin South Central Aengus O'Snodaigh.

The Court of Criminal Appeal adjourned an appeal by the two men against their convictions last month after hearing that a challenge has been allowed to the Supreme Court on legal issues in another case which are similar to issues in their appeal.

The challenge before the Supreme Court is against the current practice whereby the defence is unable to challenge through cross examination the basis of a Garda Chief Superintendent's belief that someone is a member of an illegal organisation.

The Supreme Court has allowed an appeal on whether the right to a fair trial under Article 38 of the Constitution has been infringed by not allowing the defence to challenge the basis of the Chief
Superintendent's belief. The Supreme Court is expected to hear the appeal early in the New Year.

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