Lisa Smith’s lawyers call for terrorism case to be dropped

Dundalk woman facing charges related to alleged membership of Islamic State

Lisa Smith arriving to the Dublin District Court on Wednesday.  Photograph: Alan Betson

Lisa Smith arriving to the Dublin District Court on Wednesday. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

The legal team of alleged Islamic State member Lisa Smith has pleaded with the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to drop the terrorism case against her.

The 37-year-old Dundalk woman and former Defence Forces member appeared in court for the first time on Wednesday morning since being granted bail on New Years Eve.

The mother-of-one is charged that, between October 28th, 2015, and December 1st, 2019, she was a member of unlawful terrorist group Islamic State or Isis between October 28th, 2015, and December 1st, 2019, contrary to the Criminal Justice (Terrorist Offences) Act 2005.

She may also face further charges, the court heard on a previous occasion.

Dublin District Court heard the DPP has not yet completed the book of evidence in the case due to the “complex and substantial” nature of the prosecution which relates to information from outside the jurisdiction.

The prosecution said it has made a mutual assistance application to another country as part of its case.

Judge John Hughes agreed to grant an extension to the 42 day deadline to prepare a book of evidence.

Defence counsel Peter Corrigan pleaded with the DPP to “actively review” the evidence that Ms Smith was a member of a terrorist group and that it discontinue the prosecution in the interim.

He said there is not a “single piece of evidence amounting to a charge” and that there was significant debate within the office of the DPP of whether to bring a case in the first place.

Evidential threshold

Mr Corrigan asked prosecutors to “consider the evidential threshold in relation to the charge.” Ms Smith would not be pleaded guilty, he said.

Judge Hughes replied the decision on whether to prosecute is for the DPP and not the court. The issue of insufficient evidence does not concern the court at this stage, he said.

Ms Smith stood to the side of the court wearing hijab and with her face visible. She did not address the short hearing.

Judge Hughes adjourned the matter until March 4th, next when a book of evidence will be served. Ms Smith was remanded on continuing bail.

As part of strict bail conditions set by the courts, Ms Smith 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 also ordered to obey a curfew, having to remain indoors from 8pm to 7am.

She cannot leave the jurisdiction or apply for travel documentation.

She must also provide gardaí with a contact mobile phone number within 48 hours of taking up her bail.

Ms Smith, who denies the charge, has also been banned from accessing the internet or using any social media and she must not have contact with non-Garda witnesses in the case.

Ms Smith, who left Ireland and married after she converted to Islam, had been found in a Syrian refugee camp.

After a trek to Turkey with her daughter, they were brought back to Ireland on December 1st last.