New Special Criminal Court sits for first time

First case was of two men due to stand trial on explosives and IRA membership charges

Special Criminal Court: IRA member Darren Gleeson was sentenced to 3½ years in prison

Special Criminal Court: IRA member Darren Gleeson was sentenced to 3½ years in prison

 

The second Special Criminal Court sat for the first time at the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin on Friday .

The court, which will in future be known as Special Criminal Court Number 2, dealt with four cases which were transferred to it by Special Criminal Court Number 1.

Earlier, Mr Justice Paul Butler, presiding at Special Criminal Court Number 1, said that the court “on its own motion” in the interest of justice had decided to transfer the cases for trial to court Number 2 under the provisions of the Offences Against the State Act of 1939.

Following the court’s transfer order, the second Special Criminal Court sat at Court 17 with Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy of the High Court presiding, along with Judge Sinead Ni Chulachain of the Circuit Court and Judge Gerard Haughton of the District Court.

When court number 2 sat Ms Anne Marie Lawlor BL, for the Director of Public Prosecutions, set out the court’s jurisdiction and presented the court with a number of documents.

These included the order establishing the second Special Criminal Court of December 14th, 2004 and the coming into existence of the second court on October 28th last year, when seven judges were appointed to the new court.

The first case dealt with court number 2 was that of two men who were due to stand trial in January2018 on explosives and IRA membership charges.

Séamus McGrane (60), of Little Road, Domiskin, Co Louth, is charged with membership of an unlawful organisation styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh na hÉireann otherwise the IRA within the State between December 23rd 2009 and May 13th 2015.

He is also charged with directing the activities of an unlawful organisation styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the IRA, in respect of which a suppression order had been made, within the State on dates between December 23rd 2009 and May 13th 2015 inclusive.

His co-accused Donal O Coisdealbha (23), of Abbeyfield, Killester Dublin 15, is charged with membership of an unlawful organisation styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh na hÉireann otherwise the IRA within the State on May 13th 2015.

Mr O Coisdealbha is also charged with possession of a component part of an improvised explosive device namely a time and power unit also known as a TPU at “the personal storage locker under the control of Donal O Coisdealbha at Protector Life Sciences, National University of Ireland Maynooth, Co Kildare” under such circumstances as to give rise to a reasonable suspicion that he had not got it in his possession for a lawful purpose on May 13 2015.

Mr Bernard Condon, SC for Mc Grane said he was reserving his position on the proceedings of the court and the jurisdiction of the new court.

Ms Anne Rowland BL, for O Coisdealbha, said she was also reserving her position on the proceedings and the jurisdiction of the court.

Ms Justice Kennedy, presiding, adjourned the case until next Thursday and made a production order that the two accused, who are in custody, should be brought before court number 2 then.

She also adjourned the cases of two other men, Joseph Finnegan and Ryan Glennon, who are on bail until next Thursday.

Earlier in court number 1, Ms Lawlor said that a declaration of a State of Emergency was made on May 26th, 1972 and an order establishing the Special Criminal Court was made on May 30th, 1972.

She said that the Offences Against the State Act allowed for the establishment of another Special Criminal Court.