Irish Republican News · March 9, 2006
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
High Court persecution of leading republican

Brendan ‘Bik’ McFarlane is to face a retrial in connection with an IRA action over 20 years ago, the Dublin High Court has ruled.

Mr McFarlane, a former leader of IRA prisoners in the H-Blocks at Long Kesh during the early 1980s, including the 1981 hunger strike, will face a hearing at the Special Criminal Court in Dublin on charges relating to the kidnapping of Don Tidey in 1983.

Mr McFarlane led a mass escape of 38 IRA prisoners from Long Kesh during the same year.

Subsequently arrested in Amsterdam in 1986, he was extradited to the North and released on parole from Long Kesh in 1997.

The following year, amid negotiations for the release of IRA prisoners as part of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, he was arrested by gardai while travelling on a bus between Dublin and Belfast. He was charged with firearms offences and falsely imprisoning Mr Tidey.

In July 2003 the High Court granted the north Belfast man an order preventing his trial before the non-jury Special Criminal Court after three exhibits discovered at the scene allegedly holding his fingerprints - a milk carton, a plastic container and a cooking pot - went missing.

Mr McFarlane had also successfully argued that there had been a prejudicial delay in taking the prosecution.

However, the Director of Public Prosecutions appealed the ruling and the Supreme Court overturned that decision yesterday.

Mr Justice Adrien Hardiman said he was allowing the appeal by the DPP because the results of the forensic analysis of the three items had been preserved and photographed.

Mr McFarlane will stand trial on charges alleging that between November 25, 1983 and December 16, 1983 he was in possession of a firearm at Derrada Wood, near Ballinmore, County Leitrim, with intent to endanger life and for an unlawful purpose.

He is also charged with the false imprisonment of Mr Tidey between the same dates.

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© 2006 Irish Republican News