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Court told bomb allegedly hidden in Co Armagh attic after failed bid to kill police

Belfast High Court

A County Armagh man accused of involvement in a dissident plot in the summer has been refused bail.

Twenty-four-year-old Ciaran Magee, of Lake Street in Lurgan, had been charged with the preparation of terrorist acts, namely targeting a former police officer.

The High Court in Belfast was told today (Tuesday), that a bomb found in the attic of a house had been put there after a failed attempt to murder members of the security forces in the Craigavon area.

Prosecuting counsel claimed in court that a group – styling itself the ‘New IRA’ – had tried unsuccessfully to deploy the improvised explosive device in August.

It was alleged in court that a wildlife camera had been hidden at the home of a former police officer, and at another location in County Tyrone, as part of a means for terrorist information gathering.

The court was told that a surveillance operation was mounted after police were informed that four men were allegedly involved in terrorist-related activity.

The explosive device was found in the attic of a vacant house at Woodville Avenue, Lurgan.

It was claimed too that Magee and co-accused had placed a camera in Stewartstown in County Tyrone between September 4 and 8. It was later taken to the retired police officer’s home in County Armagh, and retrieved on September 20 by suspected members of the gang, it was alleged.

The accused claimed to have been at home – with his girlfriend, flat mate and father – on September 20 when the camera was retrieved.

Defending counsel claimed there was no forensic or fingerprint evidence which would link Magee to the camera, and he described as weak and circumstantial the case being made against his client.

He also told the court that nothing had been put to his client in relation to any alleged involvement with the improvised device.

Mr Justice Stephens denied bail and said he considered there was a prima facie case for defendant to answer.

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