IRA accused linked to DNA evidence found at car bomb site in Newry

Special Criminal Court told that sample was taken from number plate of destroyed car

Forensics personnel gather evidence in the wake of a car bomb attack at Newry Courthouse on February 22nd, 2010. File photograph: Getty Images

Forensics personnel gather evidence in the wake of a car bomb attack at Newry Courthouse on February 22nd, 2010. File photograph: Getty Images

 

The probability that DNA found in the debris of a car bomb attack on Newry courthouse six years ago matches that of somebody unrelated to a man currently on trial for IRA membership is “less than one in a thousand million”, the Special Criminal Court has heard.

Darren Weldon (45), of Drinadaly, Trim, has pleaded not guilty to membership of an unlawful organisation styling itself as the Irish Republican Army on October 14th, 2014.

It is the prosecution’s case that DNA evidence links Mr Weldon to a number plate found in the debris of the car bomb, which exploded outside Newry courthouse on February 22nd, 2010.

On Tuesday, Dr John Gibson, of the Forensic Science Lab in Dublin, told prosecuting counsel Seán Guerin SC that he compared a DNA sample taken from the accused man to another DNA profile, received from the UK’s forensic science services.

The court had previously heard that the DNA profile was generated from a number plate seized from the debris of the Newry car bomb.

Match

Dr Gibson said he assessed the probability of the two samples being a match. He told Mr Guerin that the chance of finding another match for the DNA found on the number plate from somebody unrelated to Mr Weldon was “considerably less than one in a thousand million”.

Under cross-examination, the doctor agreed with Hugh Hartnett SC, defending, that it was not possible to say how the DNA was deposited, nor how long it had been there. He also said a secondary or tertiary transfer was possible.

Earlier, Chloe Holland, assistant scientific officer at Forensic Science Northern Ireland, told the court that she recovered DNA from the top and bottom edges of a number plate.

The trial continues in front of Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding, with Judge Martin Nolan and Judge Cormac Dunne.