Irish Republican News · November 28, 2003
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Public inquiry demanded after tampering of evidence

Two men accused of a dissident republican bomb plot in September last year were formaly acquitted of the charges today after the prosecution incredibly offered no evidence against them.

The pair, Martin Ambrose Brogan -- also cleared of membership of the breakaway `Real IRA' -- and Mark Joseph Carroll were arrested outside Newry on September 17 last year.

After their acquittal at Belfast Crown Court, Brogan from Commedagh Park, Castlewellan, and Carroll from Shannagh Drive, Annalong, called for an international public inquiry into their arrests and detention.

Their solicitor Kevin Winters described their prosecution as having been ``politicially motivated - designed to send them on their way to a lengthy prison term''.

The solicitor said it had been a ``fundamentally flawed prosecution'' where fortunately the defence uncovered ``forensic notes revealing that military personnel had interfered with forensic exhibits''.

Mr Winters also revealed that the manner in which ``this material was made available to the defence - will form the basis of other legal proceedings and inquiries''.

Brogan, who rejected being associated with any organisation, but admitted he was a ``republican, and I make no apologises for that'', said the ``police, clandestine army search organisation, an agent provocateur, forensics and the DPP - lied, conspired and perverted every course of justice'' in their case.

``In light of what has transpired here today a non-British, international public inquiry should be set up to bring these agencies and the British government to book, for ultimately they are responsible,'' read Brogan from a prepared statement.

Earlier in the Laganside court, which Brogan refused to recognise, , prosecuting QC Gordon Kerr said that following top level discussions with police and prosecutors, the Crown were offering no further evidence against the men.

Mr Kerr then initially asked that the charges of possessing the boobytrap devices, a radio, masks and gloves aganist both men, and `Real IRA' membership against Brogan, to ``be allowed to remain on the books not to be proceeded with without leave of this court or the Court of Appeal''.

However defence QC Terence McDonald said that since the prosecution were offering no evidence the men should be formally found not guilty, thereby preventing any possibility of the prosecutions being resurrected in the future.

Lord Justice McCollum, who was told by the prosecution there was ``no authority'' to resist the defence application, said that since there was ``no dispute'' between the defence and prosecution, ``the proper course for me to take is to enter verdicts of not guilty''.

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© 2003 Irish Republican News