eirigi spokesman remanded in custody

December 4, 2012

By Christine Keighery

Photographs taken of police raids, along with the seizure of band uniforms and BB guns are believed to form a significant part of the charges which were levied against Stephen Murney, spokesman for republican group eirigi, when he appeared before Newry Magistrates Court on Saturday morning.

Murney (29) was arrested during PSNI raids in the Derrybeg Estate area on Thursday where a number of items were seized by police investigating dissident republican activity.  The prominent republican is charged with the collection and distribution of information, and the possession of articles, likely to be of use to terrorists.

The court heard that Mr Murney took photographs of police officers on his mobile phone, and shared the photographs on his Facebook page.

A detective also told the court that police searched the defendant’s home on Thursday and found two BB guns, two black berets, three military-style jumpers and three pairs of combat trousers.

The eirigi frontman’s appearance at a republican protest highlighting prison conditions in Maghaberry Prison, which took place during Olympic Torch celebrations, was also cited in Saturday’s hearing.

A laptop computer seized during Thursday’s raids was said to contain hundreds of photos of police officers. Murney’s defence lawyer claimed the images dated back years and did not include serving PSNI officers.

He also said the photos taken at the protest were for the purposes of claiming harassment.

The district judge remanded Mr Murney in custody until 12th December on the grounds that there was a risk he would interfere with the police investigation.

Eirigi supporters in the public gallery for the hearing, clapped and cheered as their public relations officer was led away raising a clenched fist in the air.