Irish Republican News · December 15, 2003
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: British accused of planting device
British accused of planting device

A man controversially acquitted in September of a dissident republican attack at a polling station two years ago has claimed he found a bugging device on his car.

According to Noel Abernethy, the device was planted under the wheel of his vehicle and only discovered when it fell off as he was driving.

``I noticed something funny about the steering and it was getting worse so I pulled over and got out with a flash lamp and had a look around the car,'' he said.

``I noticed a wheel nut missing on the passenger side of the vehicle and the others were loose. As I was doing this I noticed a grey thing, like a match box, hidden at the back of the splash guard.''

Mr Abernethy believes ``some apparatus of the state'' bugged his car.

``I believe the reason behind it is because of the shooting in Draperstown - what came out in my trial about the forensics,'' he said.

``I have asked my solicitor to approach the Secretary of State to ask to see if he signed a warrant to bug my car.''

In September Mr Abernethy was cleared of trying to murder two police officers and a woman voter at St Mary's primary school polling station in Draperstown on June 7 2001.

At the trial Ann Irwin, a senior forensic officer, told Lord Justice Nicholson that senior PSNI police officers have tried for years to interfere with the workings of the independent Forensic Science Agency.

Ms Irwin said the demands were made after police had requested that tests for firearms residue on clothing and other materials taken from suspects and crime scenes be made despite the possibility of contamination.

The Police Ombudsman has since launched an investigation into the allegations.

Mr Abernethy's solicitor, of Kevin Winters solicitors, described the timing of the alleged bugging of his client's car as ``sinister''.

```I am concerned about the timing of what he has told me following his acquittal two months ago in a high profile case and in light of the revelations made in court,'' he said.

Meanwhile, the cases of two other men acquitted of a dissident republican bomb-plot in November, is set to be at the centre of a TV documentary.

The Insight programme is to highlight the controversial case of Martin Brogan and Mark Carroll, early next year.

At trial, the charges against the men were suddenly withdrawn without explanation. The men then called for a full and public independent inquiry into their arrest.

The Police Ombudsman has yet to decide if her office will decide to conduct a probe into the controversial case.

© 2003 Irish Republican News