Judge rules MI5 “entrapped” one of Real IRA arms plot accused

The BBC reports that, at Belfast Crown Court, Mr Justice Hart has ruled that one of the accused in an alleged Real IRA arms plot was “entrapped” by an MI5 agent.  From the BBC report

Mr Justice Hart said that given the evidence of two meetings between Amir and Mr Kearns in particular, Mr Kearns had been “entrapped”.

“The defence have satisfied me that Kearns’ conduct was brought about by the misconduct of Amir during those meetings, that the offences were artificially created by that misconduct, and that the administration of justice would be brought into disrepute were the prosecution permitted to continue,” said Mr Justice Hart.

However, the judge refused a similar application from defence lawyers on behalf of one of Mr Kearns’ co-accused, Paul Anthony John McCaugherty, 43, from Beech Court, Lurgan.

He faces a total of six charges including conspiring to get arms and explosives, IRA membership and three charges of using money for the purposes of terrorism.

Mr Justice Hart said it did not follow that because he had ruled Mr Kearns’ case be stayed, Mr McCaugherty’s case should also be stopped.

The judge said so far, there was nothing to suggest that another agent – ‘Ali’ – did anything more than “skillfully and convincingly play the role of an arms dealer”, and as such there were no grounds to stop Mr McCaugherty’s trial.