Woman charged over explosives found in Cookstown awaits judgement

16/10/2012 Pacemaker press.  A man aged in his 70s has died in a road accident involving three vehicles, the police have said.It happened on the main Lisburn to Ballynahinch road at about 22:30 BST on Monday.Three other people were treated in hospital. The road remained closed on Tuesday morning with diversions in place. picture Mark Marlow/pacemaker press

16/10/2012 Pacemaker press. A man aged in his 70s has died in a road accident involving three vehicles, the police have said.It happened on the main Lisburn to Ballynahinch road at about 22:30 BST on Monday.Three other people were treated in hospital. The road remained closed on Tuesday morning with diversions in place. picture Mark Marlow/pacemaker press

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The trial of a Tyrone woman said to have been “used” by others to move explosive substances - which were uncovered in Cookstown - has been reserved for judgement.

On Monday final submissions were made in which the prosecution claim she has no innocent explanation, while the defence argue the evidence does not meet the charges.

Nuala Gormley, 38 from Morgan Park in Dromore, denies three charges, two of possessing the explosive substances, comprising electronic items, with intent and under suspicious circumstances, and one of having them for use in terrorism.

Belfast Crown Court has heard that the items were uncovered by police, concealed in an oil container restrained by netting, in the boot of her Nissan Almera car, which was parked at the Kildress Service station on the Drum Road near Cookstown on August 6 last year.

A prosecutor told trial Judge Gordon Kerr QC that the “articles speak for themselves”, and it was clear from the evidence their combined use was for one purpose and one purpose only, terrorism. The lawyer said that there was no evidence for any legitimate reason for their manufacture save for the initiation of an explosion.

It was further claimed that Gormley was the driver of the car, the sole user of the vehicle, and was present when it was searched and the articles uncovered. The inference from these combination of facts, added the lawyer, is that Gormley was in possession of them.

Judge Kerr was also told that the court could draw an adverse inference from her failure to give evidence, as the only explanation for failing to do so was the lack of any credible excuse she could offer which would be “consistent with innocence”.

However, in his submissions defence QC Mark Mulholland a fundamental prerequisite in proving the charges was that Gormley must know what she was under her control were explosive substances. He added that even if the court were satisfied she knew the canister was in her vehicle, it fell far short of her express knowledge it contained explosives.

Mr Mulholland said it was not open to the court to speculate, despite whatever suspicions it may have. Simply to convey a container from A to B, was not sufficient to ground the charges as there was nothing to link her with its contents or even the container itself.

He added that the court simply did no know, nor was there any evidence, what the future movement, if any, of the materials. There was also no evidence that she agreed to move the items, and it may be she had been used.

Her short trial had heard that the case against her was circumstantial, and while, “it is not suggested that the defendant herself intended to use the articles, but the Crown case is that she was being used to pass the articles to another”, and therefore guilty “on the second limb”.

Judge Kerr said he hoped to give his written judgement next week if possible.