Bail refused in terror case

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A Lurgan man charged with having information that would be useful to terrorists had a bail application turned down last Friday at Craigavon Magistrates Court.

Shane Stevenson (29), Lurgantarry, Lurgan, appeared in court via videolink from Maghaberry prison.

He is accused that on February 22 this year he was in possession of a document or record containing information of a certain kind likely to be useful to terrorism.

Outlining the background a detective constable said that in the early hours of the morning on February 22 a search was carried out at an address in Lurgantarry.

When the base of a flask was unscrewed police found two pieces of paper containing vehicle details and dates and times concerning a serving police officer and other vehicles which used Lurgan police station.

He added that on the day before 22 AK magazines were found in the footwell of a vehicle Stevenson was travelling in and when interviewed over two days refused to answer questions.

The officer said they would be objecting strongly to bail claiming there was a likelihood of further offending and the risk of the defendant absconding.

He alleged Stevenson was linked to violent dissident Republican ideology.

The detective said the defendant had also been involved in disorderly behaviour and body cam coverage heard him said ‘up the Ra’ and he referred to the attempted murder of a policeman on the Crumlin Road.

He was also heard to say: “I hope you’re looking under your car.”

The officer suggested that Stevenson could utilise support in Ireland for dissidents to flee the jurisdiction.

A solicitor representing the defendant said his client had no previous convictions in relation to terrorism only for public disorder.

He added that he had lived in the Lurgan area all his life and there was no issue with absconding, having five young children with his partner.

The solicitor said the offence was not at the top of the terrorist hierarchy and his client was entitled to the presumption of innocence.

He also pointed out that Stevenson had no record of absconding on bail or committing offences while on police or court bail.

“He could be admitted to bail with stringent conditions,” he added.

District Judge, Mrs Bernie Kelly, said she accepted that the risk of absconding may not be as high as has been suggested.

But, she added, there was a risk of further offences from what the officer had given in his evidence.

“There are no conditions I can put in place which would prevent that given its ideology based,” said the judge.

Refusing bail she said Stevenson could appeal that decision to the High Court.

He was remanded to appear again on May 25 by videolink, pending appeal.