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Garda tells court he believes Dublin man is IRA member

CourtsBy Sunday World
Garda tells court he believes Dublin man is IRA member

A garda assistant commissioner has told the Special Criminal Court that he believes a Dublin man is an IRA member.

The case against David Murray (56) closed today with a prosecution lawyer telling the court there was "significant and compelling" evidence, including a connection between the accused man and another man, Stephen Hendrick (48), who in a separate case was convicted of possessing explosives after gardai found a "bomb factory in his back garden". 

Mr Murray, of Cappogue Cottages, Finglas, Dublin has pleaded not guilty to membership of an unlawful organisation styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh Na hÉíreann, on March 25, 2015.

It is the prosecution case that during a search of Mr Murray's bedroom, gardai found a shopping list for chemicals used in making explosives and that the list was
"remarkably similar" to a list found in Hendrick's van. 

Last year, Hendrick, with an address at Balbutcher Drive, Ballymun, Dublin 11, was sentenced by the non-jury court to eleven years in prison for possession of firearms, ammunition and explosives. 

Assistant Commissioner Michael O'Sullivan told prosecuting counsel Gareth Baker BL today that he believes Mr Murray is a member, and was a member on March 25, 2015, of the IRA.

He told the court that his belief was based on confidential information and that he was satisfied the information was reliable.

Mr Baker then closed the prosecution case. 

Summing up, he said that there was a substantial body of evidence, "significant and compelling", before the court. 

He referred to the exhibits found in Mr Murray's bedroom. There was the "shopping list of chemicals and other articles commonly used in the production of explosives" and additional documents related to subversive activity. 

Mr Baker also noted the "connection" between the accused man and Hendrick.

The barrister said that Hendrick was found with "a bomb factory in his back garden", adding that there was a "striking similarity" between the list found in Mr Murray's bedroom and a list found in Hendrick's van.

He said that the court should also take note of interviews conducted by gardai with Mr Murray. 

Previously, the court has heard evidence that during interviews gardai invoked Section 2 of the Offences Against the State (Amendment) Act, 1998. This section allows a court to draw inferences from a suspected person's failure or refusal to answer questions regarding alleged IRA membership.

Mr Baker said that when Mr Murray was asked specific questions about specific documents, there was silence, and this was something from which the court "can and ought to draw inferences from".

He said that there was "persistent silence in relation to what can only be described as material questions".

Hugh Hartnett SC, for Mr Murray, declined to make any closing remarks.

Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding, sitting with Judge John O'Hagan and Judge Ann Ryan, will deliver a judgement in the case tomorrow morning.

Daniel Hickey