Murney trial begins
Tuesday, 28 January 2014
EIRIGI party member Stephen Murney, who published photographs of police on duty on his Facebook page, has gone on trial.
The 30-year-old from Rath Gullion, Killeavy, appeared at Belfast Crown Court on Thursday facing charges of possessing, collecting and communicating information likely to be of use to terrorists.
The court heard that during a police search of a Derrybeg Terrace home in November 2012, photographs were found along with two videos on a phone.
Prosecution claim the photos, which were taken between August 2011 and July 2012, were uploaded to Murney's Facebook page, allowing them to be viewed by other users.
Defence however, say Murney has no case to answer as collecting and publishing photographs of police doesn't amount to collecting information for terrorists, as the information must be "inherently sinister".
Defence added that Murney is facing a "hybrid charge" and that he was wrongly charged, meaning the case against him should be thrown out. The court heard that it is necessary to look at reason the photographs were taken when deciding on whether they were in breach of legislation.
The Deputy Recorder asked by prosecution and defence to supply written submissions on the matters before her ruling on the application this week.
Meanwhile éirígí member Pádraic Mac Coitir criticised the failure of authorities to ensure the case went ahead as planned on Tuesday, January 21.
Speaking outside the court Mr Mac Coitir said: "Stephen's case had been formally listed two months ago to be heard today yet the prison authorities managed to ensure that he did not appear in court. To compound this injustice even further, it then emerged
there was no judge available to hear the full case.
“Stephen's family, his legal team and others. including two Leinster House TDs had travelled to the court in the full expectation that this trial would take place as planned. Instead, they faced a farcical scenario which has only served to compound the whole sense of injustice surrounding this case against Stephen ever since he was first arrested and imprisoned at the beginning of December 2012.
“Very grave concerns have continuously been expressed about the whole background to Stephen Murney's arrest and imprisonment."
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