“A safe and valid conclusion”

The Irish Times fills in some of the details[subs req] – also available in this RTÉ report[RealPlayer audio] – from the Irish Court of Criminal Appeal’s dismissal of appeals by two Dublin Sinn Féin members, Niall Binéad, a former secretary of a south Dublin Sinn Féin cumann, and Kenneth Donohoe, against their convictions for IRA membership in 2004. – see also yesterday’s RTÉ reportFrom the Irish Times report

Niall Binéad (36), Faughart Road, Crumlin, and Kenneth Donohoe (27), Mountain View, Tallaght, both Dublin, were each jailed for four years by the Special Criminal Court in 2004 after they were convicted of membership of an unlawful organisation.

The trial was told gardaí found a list of TDs, including three former ministers for justice, at Binéad’s home. He is a former secretary of a south Dublin Sinn Féin cumann

The two men were arrested following the arrests of five other men in Corke Abbey, Bray, Co Wicklow in October 2002

The Irish Times notes the ruling by the Court of Criminal Appeal rejected the arguments by the two men

The three judges at the Special Criminal Court had examined secret Garda files which were not seen by either the prosecution or defence legal teams.

Binéad appealed on the grounds that the Special Criminal Court had wrongly examined confidential information to establish the reliability of the chief superintendent’s opinion evidence.

Donohoe argued that the confidential information had not been seen by the defence in breach of the Article 38 of the Constitution and Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

He had also appealed on the absence of corroborative evidence as well as inferences drawn by the Special Criminal Court having regard to his right to silence.

Ms Justice Macken said yesterday the Special Criminal Court was correct in concluding that both men were associated with the events at Corke Abbey. She also held that there was no reason to conclude that anything found in the material examined by the Special Criminal Court was influential on the court’s judgment.

She said the evidence established clearly that there was “a complete and utter failure” on the part of both men to answer any question during interview, thus inferences were correctly and validly drawn, she said.