Surveillance lasted nearly three years

THREE members of the Duffy family in Lurgan were subject to a ‘massive surveillance operation’ for almost three years, Craigavon Magistrates Court heard last Friday,

Details of the operation emerged when a bail application was made on behalf of Damien Duffy.

Opposing the application a prosecuting officer said there were audio recordings from within a car, tracking information and CCTV from a helicopter.

He told the court that on a number of occasions - 18 on one day and 21 on another day - they drove past the home of a police officer.

The inference from conversations in the vehicle and its movement suggested they were planning an attack, he added.

The prosecutor explained that the third charge related to creating an explosion at the Kilmore Road junction which was used by members of the security forces.

He objected to bail claiming that there would be a risk of further offending.

He said Damien Duffy had received a five-year sentence in 1993 when a UDR officer was abducted and Duffy tried to strangle him to get other names of security forces.

A barrister for Duffy said this was a massive surveillance operation over the period of three years.

He added that all it boiled down to was the defendants, on different occasions, driving around areas close to their own homes.

The barrister argued that the prosecution had to justify what they had done with public funds and had ‘cobbled together’ this case but did not have an end product.

He added that Duffy had been in custody on remand for 14 months.

He claimed that there were ‘real tribal issues’ in this case and it was hard to see where a successful prosecution would come from.

When they seemed to be getting nowhere the authorities decided to pull the plug and see if they could put a case together, he added. It has been adjourned until July 19 when the date will be fixed for a preliminary enquiry.