Sinn Fein slam ‘short term internment’ of Eirigi Newry spokesman Stephen Murney

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Thursday, January 17th, 2013
News, Politics
The Sinn Fein grouping on the Policing and Community Safety Partnership have slammed the arrest and charging of Newry man Stephen Murney. Murney, a former Sinn Fein man, is the Newry Spokesperson for Irish socialist republican political party Eirigi.

Murney outside Newry Court House last year

He was arrested at the start of December 2012 by detectives from the PSNI’s Serious Crime Branch investigating what they described as ‘dissident republican terrorist activity’ in the Newry area. The 29 year old Derrybeg man was subsequently charged with the collection and distribution of information likely to be of use to terrorists. Murney appeared at Newry Magistrates court on Saturday 1st December where he was also charged with possession of articles likely to be of use to terrorists. A PSNI detective told Newry Court that Murney was spotted by police at a republican protest during the Olympic torch visit to Newry in June 2012 and Murney allegedly took photographs of police officers on his mobile phone which later appeared on his personal Facebook page. The detective then went on to explain to the court that after an initial search of Murney’s house, police discovered two BB guns, two black berets, three military-style jumpers and three pairs of combat trousers.

Curran said the charges against Murney were very dubious

He also revealed that Murney had a laptop which contained hundreds of photographs of police officers. In Murney’s defence, a lawyer said the images dated back years and did not contain any photographs of current serving PSNI officers. In addition, the defense lawyer also insisted that the photographs were taken because of claims of PSNI harassment by Murney. At this week’s Policing and Community Safety Partnership meeting on Monday night, Sinn Fein Councillor Brendan Curran and Independent member Declan Murphy stated that the charges smacked of ‘short term internment’ on the basis of what they described as ‘very dubious charges’. Councillor Curran also complained; “The bail restrictions imposed on this person are excessive and unacceptable in comparison to the perceived risk or danger posed. He added, “Justice must be fair and equal to all our citizens irrespective of their political views.”
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