Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Couple fail in bid to have bomb-making charges dismissed

An attempt by a couple to have charges of making a bomb in their Forkhill home dismissed have been unsuccessful, a court has heard.

The legal representatives of Keith McConnan and Orla O’Hanlon made applications that their clients had ‘no case to answer’ on various charges.

The applications were made to judge Sandra Crawford after the prosecution had concluded its case during the trial at Belfast Crown Court last month.

It is the prosecution case that the pair were guilty of committing acts for the preparation of manufacturing explosives and making a bomb after an explosive substance, an industrial grinder and other items, including a primed timer power unit, were discovered in their rented bungalow on Tievecrom Road, Forkhill.

The items were uncovered during a search of the property in December 2013. The couple have denied all the charges against them.

Ahead of the defence opening its case, a barrister acting on behalf of 21-year-old McConnan argued that his client had no case to answer on four of the nine charges he faces.

An application was also made on behalf of 20-year-old O’Hanlon on the grounds that following the prosecution’s case, she had no case to answer on each of 10 offences she is charged with.

Having considered the defence submissions and the evidence before the court, on Monday last Judge Crawford said she was “satisfied that each of the defendants has a case to answer” in respect of all the offences they are being tried on.

Following the ruling, the court was informed that the trial will resume again on Monday 1st February.

McConnan was remanded back into custody while O’Hanlon was released on continuing bail.