28 January 2006

Bailsmen lose £9,000 each after Garland leaves country

Belfast Telegraph

28 January 2006

A JUDGE has ruled that three bailsmen who secured the release of fugitive Workers Party leader Sean Garland by lodging £30,000 in court will have to pay up.

Mr Garland, the 71-year-old former Official IRA chief, absconded after being freed on bail pending the US government's move to have him extradited.

The bailsmen were ordered to forfeit £9,000 each by the Recorder of Belfast, Judge Tom Burgess.

They are Dessie O'Hagan, a retired education officer for the Workers Party, living in Downpatrick, John Lowry, the WP secretary, and Roderick Hassan, a businessmen, both from Belfast.

Mr Garland, who hails from Navan, Co Meath, was arrested in Belfast last October on the eve of his party's annual conference. He appeared the next day at Belfast Recorder's Court and the US authorities applied for his extradition on multi-million dollar counterfeiting charges.

The court was told that a US Grand Jury indictment handed down last May alleged that Garland had engaged with others since the early 1990s in buying, transporting and either passing as genuine or re-selling large quantities of high quality counterfeit $100 notes.

The Crown opposed Garland's release on bail claiming there was a substantial risk that he would not come back to face the extradition application.

But he was freed after providing an address in Co Down and the three cash sureties.

The residence restriction was later lifted to allow him to return to the Republic to receive medical treatment but when his case came back to court in December he did not appear.

A warrant has been issued for Garland's arrest. In the meantime, the move to extradite him has been adjourned indefinitely.

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