Court rejects Lisa Smith’s bid to have charges dropped

Former Defence Forces member denies being a member of terrorist group Islamic State

 Lisa Smith, from Dundalk, Co Louth, arriving at the Special Criminal Court on Monday. Photograph: Collins Courts

Lisa Smith, from Dundalk, Co Louth, arriving at the Special Criminal Court on Monday. Photograph: Collins Courts


The trial of former Defence Forces member Lisa Smith will proceed on Tuesday after the Special Criminal Court rejected a legal application to have terror-related charges against her dropped.

The 39-year-old, from Co Louth, is accused of being a member of so-called Islamic State, also known as Isis, and financing terrorism.

The defence, led by Michael O’Higgins SC, made an application under section 4.e of the Criminal Procedure Act for the case to be dismissed on the grounds that there is not sufficient evidence to convict her on any of the charges.

This was rejected by Mr Justice Tony Hunt at the non-jury court on Monday, who said it was not possible to conclude that there was “nothing to see here” or that the case against Ms Smith was “doomed to fail”.

He said the defence had failed to show that there was not sufficient evidence to secure a conviction.

The case will begin at 10.30am on Tuesday at the Special Criminal Court.

The pre-trial application to have the case against her thrown out was heard at the Special Criminal Court last week.

Seán Gillane SC, for the prosecution, has maintained there is enough evidence to proceed.

The details of Monday’s hearing cannot be reported by the media.

The trial is now set to go ahead and is likely to last 12 weeks.

Ms Smith has appeared in court throughout the application, arriving on Monday in a grey coat, blue hijab and white face covering.

The case received widespread attention in 2019 when it emerged that Ms Smith, a former Air Corps soldier who had worked on the government jet, had been detained in Syria over alleged links to Islamic State.

She was arrested at Dublin Airport in 2019 on suspicion of terrorist offences after returning from Turkey in November with her young daughter.

She had travelled to Syria a number of years ago after she converted to Islam.

She is charged under section six of the Criminal Justice (Terrorist Offences) Act 2005 which makes it an offence to join a foreign unlawful organisation.

It is alleged that between October 28th, 2015, and December 1st, 2019, at a location outside the State, she was a member of a terrorist group styling itself as the Islamic State.

She has also been accused of financing terrorism by sending €800 in assistance by Western Union money transfer to a named individual in 2015.

Ms Smith has denied the charges. – PA