Lisa Smith granted bail on conditions including internet ban

Former Defence Forces soldier is accused of membership of terrorist organisation

Lisa Smith, pictured in 2008, when working for the Irish Defence Forces. File image: Collins

Lisa Smith, pictured in 2008, when working for the Irish Defence Forces. File image: Collins

 

Former Irish Defence Forces soldier Lisa Smith, who is facing trial accused of membership of the terrorist organisation Isis, has been granted bail with strict conditions including an internet and social media ban.

The former soldier, who left Ireland and married after she converted to Islam, had been found in a Syrian refugee camp, and after a trek to Turkey with her daughter, aged two, she was brought back to Ireland on December 1st last.

She was arrested on arrival and questioned for three days before she was charged with being a member of the Islamicist terror group.

She had bail refused on December 4th at Dublin District Court, and she has been held at Limerick Prison.

Family members were caring for her child, the court then heard.

The 37-year-old brought her renewed bail application to the High Court in Cloverhill on Thursday.

She will be able to take up bail and must comply with a number of conditions once she lodges €500 and a further €1,000 is put forward by an independent surety. Until then she has to remain in prison.

Mr Justice Robert Eagar made an order restricting the publication of evidence in support of the objection to bail to protect the integrity of the jury system. But he said the outcome and any conditions, if conditions were imposed, could be reported.

Her charges sheet states that between October 28th, 2015 and December 1st, 2019 she was a member of an unlawful terrorist group “styling itself the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) also known as Dawlat al-Iraq al-Islamiyya, Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis) and Dawlat al Islamiya fi Iraq wa al-Sham, otherwise known as ‘Da’esh’ and the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham”.

Membership is an offence contrary to the Criminal Justice (Terrorist Offences) Act 2005.

Smith joined the Irish Defence Forces after leaving school in 2000 and also served with the Air Corps on the government jet.

Special Detective Unit (SDU) Sgt Gareth Kane objected to bail citing the seriousness of the case and possible flight risk.

Reporting restrictions

Michael O’Higgins SC for Ms Smith and Emmet Nolan for the State agreed with the order and to ban the media from publishing her address, but allowing reporters to say she would reside at a location in the northeast of the country.

Wearing a grey overcoat and a black hijab with her face visible, Smith sat behind a glass barrier for most of the bail hearing.

Visibly upset, she got into the witness box and after swearing on the Koran, she pleaded for bail to be with her child. She agreed with Mr O’Higgins that she would comply with any order made by the court.

Mr O’Higgins submitted that risk of flight was low. “She has a child here, her immediate concern is for her child, and this is a very strong anchor.”

In his ruling, Mr Justice Eagar said Ms Smith was accused of membership of a terrorist organisation. It was a serious offence that could result in an eight-year sentence, he said.

However, he said, she was entitled to the presumption of innocence and the presumption of bail, which precedent states must be granted in most cases.

The court was satisfied that no warrants had been issued for the accused and she had no prior convictions. He held that the refusal of bail was not necessary.

Bail was set in Ms Smith’s own bond of €500 which has to be lodged and the judge required an independent surety of €5,000, of which €1,000 must be lodged immediately.

She must reside at an address in the northeast and sign on at a Garda station twice daily from 10am-1pm and 3pm-6pm. She was ordered to obey a curfew, having to remain indoors from 8pm to 7am.

The judge told her she cannot leave the jurisdiction or apply for new travel documentation, having already lost her passport. She must provide gardaí with a contact mobile phone number within 48 hours of taking up bail. The judge warned her that she must answer the phone if rung by gardaí and if she failed to do so it would be a breach of bail.

This would result in her going back into custody.

He also banned her from accessing the internet or using any social media and the final condition was that she must not have contact with non-Garda witnesses in the case.

She will face her next hearing on January 8th at Dublin District Court.

The Director of Public Prosecutions has directed trial on indictment. She is to be served with a book of evidence and possible further charges are contemplated.