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Man facing multiple terrorism-related charges to face Crown Court

The charges arise arising from a covert MI5 operation at a property in the Ardcarn housing estate in Newry between August and November 2014

A man accused of belonging to a proscribed organisation and being involved in the preparation of terrorist acts will face Crown Court proceedings later this year.

The 38-year-old appeared at Newry Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday for the purposes of a preliminary enquiry (PE), the legal process during which a case is referred to the higher court.

Darren Gleeson, with a bail address at Cable Street, Derry/Londonderry, faces eight terrorist offences arising from a covert MI5 operation at a property in the Ardcarn housing estate in Newry between August and November 2014.

These are namely; conspiracy to possess explosives with intent to endanger life, conspiracy to possess firearms with intent to endanger life, two counts of preparing acts of terrorism, attending at a place used for terrorism, belonging to a proscribed organisation and possessing documents or records which would be useful to anyone planning a terrorist incident.

The charges arise following a covert MI5 surveillance operation at a house in Newry and last November, seven other men arrested during the same operation were handed jail sentences totalling 33 years.

During the sentencing hearing at Belfast Crown Court, Mr Justice Colton outlined how the secret recordings revealed: a plot to target a senior prison governor while out walking in Co Down; a plot to target specific police officers; robbery plots on homes for cash and legally-held firearms; a plot to steal sulphur from a factory in Dublin to make explosives; a plot to buy a silencer for £2,000 for an automatic handgun; frustrations at the lack of weapons, ammunition, low membership numbers and finances to fund its terror campaign; training of individuals in the making of pipe bombs and the use of firearms.

Seven of the charges levelled against this defendant were alleged to have occurred between August 11 and November 11, of 2014.

The final accusation relates to possessing documents or records which would be useful to anyone planning a terrorist incident, which is alleged to have occurred on October 26, 2016.

These are said to be namely two PDF documents entitled, ‘Expedient Homemade Firearms BSP Semi-Auto SMG’ and ‘Expedient Homemade Firearms- the ZIP gun’.

Appearing via videolink from his home, the defendant made no objection to the holding of a preliminary enquiry.

Prosecution submitted that based on the papers before the court there was a prima facie case to answer.

Defence solicitor Mark Austin made no contrary submissions.

District Judge Eamonn King said that he was satisfied there was a prima facie case to answer.

Gleeson was released on continuing bail to appear before Laganside Crown Court on September 24 for arraignment.

 

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