The Irish Times reports that Leonard Hardy, extradicted to Germany from Spain in January on 5 charges of attempted murder and another charge of attempting to cause an explosion during an IRA bomb attack on a British Army base in Osnabruck in 1989, has pleaded guilty to all charges. Previous reports pointed out that the charges are outside the terms of the GFA, but that hasn’t stopped his defence attorney from pleaded for leniency on the basis that Hardy had not contested the extradition and that “the attack happened in the context of the Northern Ireland conflict when Great Britain was occupying Northern Ireland. At no point was it the intention to affect or endanger German citizens.”[subs req]From the Irish Times report –
“My client accepts the charges in full,” said Barbara Klawitter, defence attorney for Hardy, in a statement to the court. “But the attack happened in the context of the Northern Ireland conflict when Great Britain was occupying Northern Ireland. At no point was it the intention to affect or endanger German citizens.”
Hardy, who has British and Irish citizenship, was arrested last August while on holidays with his family in Spain. He turned himself in to the German authorities in Frankfurt in January before being released on €20,000 bail.
Ms Klawitter said in the statement that Hardy hoped the court would look favourably on the fact that he had turned himself over to German authorities and that it would take into account the changed political situation in Northern Ireland.
“My client supports the peace process and hopes that this old matter can be resolved,” said Ms Klawitter, who represented Donna Maguire when she stood trial in 1995 in connection with the 1989 attack.
Maguire and three others were all found guilty and sentenced to nine and 10-year sentences but released after already serving nearly two-thirds of the sentence in remand prisons.
Hardy’s statement yesterday made no reference to the possible involvement of others in the attack.
State prosecutor Wolfgang Hilkert told the court that Hardy was a member of an IRA unit that carried out the attack.