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Judgement reserved in trial of couple accused of bomb-making

February 15, 2016

Judgement has been reserved in the trial of a Forkhill couple accused of a string of paramilitary offences.

Closing submissions in the case of Keith McConnan (21) and 20-year-old Orla O’Hanlon were heard in Belfast Crown Court on Thursday.  Presiding over the non-jury trial, Judge Sandra Crawford said that she wanted to take some time to consider before giving her judgement.

During the hearing, the court was told that two of the charges against the couple – making explosives with intent to endanger life, and possessing explosives with intent to endanger life – have been dropped by the prosecution.  However, they are still accused of making and possessing explosives in suspicious circumstances, preparation of terrorist acts by possessing items to construct an explosive device, and possessing articles for use in terrorism.

Earlier in the week, giving evidence in his defence, McConnan denied he was a terrorist or that he support dissident republican activity, telling the court that he deliberately sabotaged efforts to make a bomb.

He claimed that he bought the industrial grinder found by police during a search of his home in December 2013 in fear of a man he named only as ‘Mr X’.

He said he initially believed it was to be used for fuel laundering and upon realizing its use for making explosives, he sabotaged two attempts as he did not want to be involved.

O’Hanlon declined to give evidence but admitted knowing about the presence of the grinder in her home.

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