16 January 2006

IRA member goes back to jail voluntarily

Irish Examiner

A Dublin Sinn Féin member who was jailed for four years for IRA membership and who was freed on bail last month pending an appeal went back to prison voluntarily today.

Niall Binead's solicitor Mr Robert Purcell applied to the Court of Criminal Appeal to have Binead's bail revoked and said that he wanted to surrender himself to Portlaoise Prison this afternoon. Mr George Birmingham SC for the DPP said he had no objection.

Last month the Court of Criminal Appeal 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 station, to surrender his passport and not to associate with anyone convicted of a scheduled offence.

Binead (aged 36), of Faughart Road, Crumlin was jailed for four years by the non-jury 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 November

During the trial of the two men, the court heard that gardaí found a list of the names of TDs - 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 in November after hearing that a separate case to be brought to the Supreme Court will lead to a determination on legal issues which are similar to issues raised in their appeal.

The challenge before the Supreme Court in the other case 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 this year.

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