Facial mapping identified Derry man as flag bearer - court told

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Judgement was reserved today (Tuesday) in the trial of a Derry man accused of being the lead flag bearer in a republican commemoration ceremony.

In reserving his judgement at Belfast Crown Court, The Recorder of Belfast Judge David McFarland said he would review the evidence and the papers and deliver his verdict on 43-year-old Patrick John McDaid as soon as possible.

Earlier McDaid, from Beechwood Avenue in Derry, refused to give evidence on his own behalf and defence QC Kieran Mallon confirmed with the judge that he had advised the defendant over potential adverse inference which could be drawn from his failure to do so.

He is facing a single count of managing a meeting in support of a proscribed organisation, namely the IRA, on April 25 2011.

It is the Crown case that using facial mapping and photograph comparison techniques, despite wearing a balaclava, McDaid has been identified as carrying the Tricolour at the head of the parade into the city cemetary in the Maiden City where, standing beside republican graves, a masked terrorist delivered a speech in support of the Real IRA and Oglaigh na hEireann (OnH).

The colour party of seven flag bearers, of which McDaid was allegedly at the head, were driven to the cemetary in the back of a van driven by Marvin Canning.

Last week 51-year-old Canning, from Galliagh Park in Derry, pleaded guilty to the same charge but walked free from court after his ten-month jail term was suspended for three years.

Pleading guilty alongside him was fellow Derry man 30-year-old Frank Quigley from Elmwood Road whose nine month jail term was also suspended for three years.

Quigley had been in the back of the van along with the masked colour party.

In addition to the alleged identification evidence against McDaid, the Crown allege that documents seized from a man’s home in follow-up searches seem to have been written out in preparation for the commemoration.

“The significant part, we say, in support of the identification, we say of the main flag bearer reads: ‘colour party - McDaid to get people sorted’,” claimed Mr Mooney.