refused bail | 

Bid by man accused of directing New IRA activities to be released from custody fails

Gary Hayden (50) was refused bail on Thursday on charges linked to a major surveillance operation targeting the dissident republican grouping

Alan ErwinSunday World

A man accused of directing New IRA activities has failed in a renewed High Court bid to be released from custody.

Gary Hayden (50) was refused bail on Thursday on charges linked to a major surveillance operation targeting the dissident republican grouping.

Defence lawyers argued that Hayden, of Tyrconnell Street in Londonderry, has spent more than two years behind bars.

But Lady Chief Justice Dame Siobhan Keegan rejected an application based on alleged delays in the case.

She said: “I’m not satisfied there is a material change in circumstances.”

Hayden is among 10 people facing prosecution as part of Operation Arbacia, a joint police and MI5 investigation.

Suspects were arrested after meetings in Omagh, Co Tyrone, between February and July 2020 were covertly recorded.

Prosecutors claim those in attendance discussed membership of the IRA and its constitution, military and recruitment strategy, weaponry, interaction with other outlawed organisations and planned attacks.

Hayden faces charges of directing the activities of the IRA, belonging to a proscribed grouping, and preparation of terrorist acts.

He sought release alongside co-defendant Sharon Jordan, 47, of Cappagh Road in Dungannon, who is accused of similar offences over her alleged attendance at the bugged gatherings.

A Crown lawyer argued that the recorded discussions showed those present are “wedded to violence” for political ends.

The bail applications centred on the length of time it is expected to complete ongoing committal proceedings aimed at establishing if all 10 accused should stand trial.

The court heard that seven MI5 witnesses and 15 Scottish-based surveillance officers are set to testify.

Eilis McDermott KC, for Hayden, contended that those proceedings have “stalled” because of a series of legal issues.

Citing the 28 months her client has spent on remand, counsel added: “He has grandchildren born since he’s been in custody that he has never seen.”

A £15,000 cash surety gathered by Hayden’s family was offered in an attempt to ease any concerns.

Denying his bid to be released, however, Dame Siobhan ruled: “I don’t consider that bail should be granted at this stage on the merits.”

Meanwhile, the Lady Chief Justice agreed to a request from Jordan’s legal team to adjourn her bail application.

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