Derry man ‘strenuously denies’ explosives charge

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A man charged with possessing an explosive device has been refused bail at the local magistrates court.

Joseph Hugh Allen, of Broadway, is charged with possession of an improvised explosive device and a tub containing small arms propellant with intent to endanger life.

Derry Magistrates Court heard allegations that the 29-year-old was one of seven people arrested in October last year following bomb attacks in Claudy.

The attacks were on the homes of a serving police officer and a forensic medical officer.

It is alleged that during a search of Allen’s sisters house, a tool box was found secreted in a large rug in a shed.

An investigating told the court police found a number of plastic bags, a tub containing small arms propellant and a pipe bomb type improvised explosive device inside the tool box.

The court heard Allen was released without charge, however when the items were forensically tested he was re-arrested in August this year.

The officer claimed the 29-year-old’s fingerprints were found on the lid of the tub containing small arms propellant, on the shelf of the tool box and on a plastic bag.

Opposing bail, the officer said police feared Allen would not turn up to court or would commit further offences.

She accepted the 29-year-old has no relevant convictions but claimed it is now “common” for groups to “actively seek people without convictions to become involved in their activities”.

The officer revealed that since he has been on remand, Allen has been accepted onto the republican wing of Maghaberry.

Applying for bail because of the delay in the case, defence counsel Nicola Coulter said the police have not disclosed expert fingerprint evidence to the defence.

She said Allen “strenuously denies the charge” and has not been “given the chance to challenge his detention” because this evidence has not been served.

Refusing bail, District Judge Alan White said there “has not been inordinate delay” and claimed “this case is one of the quickest I have seen”.

However, he said the fingerprint evidence must be disclosed to the defence.

Allen was remanded in custody and will appear again via videolink on December 13.