A 42-year-old man facing terrorism charges and with suspected Continuity IRA links, has been refused a bail variation to permit him to have an internet-capable phone.
Gabriel Paul Meehan from Pound Street, Irvinestown but bailed to James Street, Omagh is charged with having a shotgun, ammunition, two mobile phones, and details of a British Army captain’s vehicle.
The allegations relate to shots fired at Enniskillen PSNI Station on 17 March 2021.
The CIRA claimed responsibility stating, “On direction of the army council, volunteers fired high velocity rounds from an improvised explosive device.”
Examination of Meehan’s phone revealed communication with two other suspects.
While initially released from custody by District Judge Steven Keown at Enniskillen Magistrates Court to an approved address, this affected the householder’s benefit entitlement and he had to leave.
Temporary accommodation was sought and an urgent bail variation on 8 March heard there may be several short-term placements until a permanent address is found.
Within days Meehan was arrested as police agreed to temporary accommodation but not hostels.
A detective constable stated: “We don’t know who’s in these hostels or who the defendant is associating with.”
Despite objections, Meehan was re-admitted to bail as the judge on that occasion was not content with how the matter was handled.
He was arrested again on 15 April after G4S alerted police that his electronic tag had activated.
Meehan is subject to a curfew from 11pm to 8am, but he wasn’t there when police attended shortly before midnight.
He did present himself when officers returned after 2am but was heavily intoxicated and with three others in a similar condition.
He was also found to be in possession of an internet-capable phone which also breach his bail terms.
The judge on that occasion agreed to release Meehan on bail again but added another condition banning alcohol and ordered the iPhone to be confiscated.
When the defence said the phone was used to enable video-link appearances in court the judge said Meehan should go to his local police station and use their facilities to join courts remotely.
The case was then sent back to Enniskillen Magistrates Court where the defence applied to amend bail for the alcohol ban to be removed and allow Meehan to have an internet capable device.
The defence conceded knowing his client had the device which was used to appear in court by video-link and to access his benefits online.
A prosecuting lawyer advised the court police objected to this, pointing out Meehan could still connect into courts by a standard phone and internet was not required.
It was further confirmed despite what the previous judge had ordered, police cannot accommodate him in stations to facilitate court appearances by video-link and this had been communicated to the defence earlier this month.
Judge Keown said he was not minded to amend the bail conditions at this stage but agreed to review the matter again on 23 May.
In the meantime he suggested if Meehan wished to keep across proceedings, “He can do it the old-fashioned way by attending court in person.”
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