Court lifts reporting restrictions on identities of Provisional IRA accused

The BBC reports that, following a legal challenge by the corporation, district judge Fiona Bagnall has lifted court orders prohibiting the media from reporting either the identities or addresses of five defendants who are accused of Provisional IRA activity in 1999 and 2000.  As previously noted

All five are charged with belonging to a proscribed organisation on dates stretching back to 1999.

Four of them are accused of arranging, addressing or assisting in the management of a PIRA meeting on named dates in 2000.

The two women and one of the men are also alleged to have used threats or menaces to get another woman to co-operate with an inquiry into claims she made against an IRA volunteer.

And from the latest BBC report

The BBC cannot reveal full details of the charges in the case – but can reveal the names of those involved after reporting restrictions were lifted.

[Seamus] Finucane, 55, [brother of the murdered Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane] is a member of Sinn Fein and a community worker in west Belfast.

The others include 53-year-old Padraic Wilson, who was the leader of the IRA in the Maze prison in the late 1990s and is currently Sinn Fein’s director of international affairs.

Both men are facing charges of IRA membership and arranging, addressing or assisting in the management of an IRA meeting.

Another man, 48-year-old Martin Edward Morris, with an address in London, is also charged with membership of the IRA.

Two Belfast women are also facing charges.

Agnes McCrory, 72, from Dermot Hill Road, and 55-year-old Briege Wright from Glassmullin Gardens, are accused of membership of the IRA, and arranging, addressing or assisting in the management of an IRA meeting.

The two women and Mr Finucane are also charged accused of unlawfully forcing a person who cannot be identified to co-operate with an IRA investigation.

Lifting the restrictions, district judge Fiona Bagnall agreed with the BBC’s argument that open justice was a cornerstone of the criminal judicial system. [added emphasis]

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