Price bid to drop prosecution fails

File photo dated 05/04/10 of veteran republican Marian Price who has been arrested by police investigating dissident activity in Northern Ireland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday May 13, 2011. She was detained in west Belfast today under terrorism legislation by detectives from the serious crime branch and has been taken to Antrim serious crime suite for questioning. Price, 57, and her sister Dolours were among those convicted of a 1973 bombing outside the Old Bailey in which one person was killed and almost 200 others injured. She split with the mainstream republicans of Sinn Fein around the time of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. See PA story ULSTER Dissidents. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire

File photo dated 05/04/10 of veteran republican Marian Price who has been arrested by police investigating dissident activity in Northern Ireland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday May 13, 2011. She was detained in west Belfast today under terrorism legislation by detectives from the serious crime branch and has been taken to Antrim serious crime suite for questioning. Price, 57, and her sister Dolours were among those convicted of a 1973 bombing outside the Old Bailey in which one person was killed and almost 200 others injured. She split with the mainstream republicans of Sinn Fein around the time of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. See PA story ULSTER Dissidents. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire

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An application by Old Bailey bomber Marian Price to have a prosecution against her dropped because of undue delay has been refused at the local magistrates court.

Price, who is named on court papers as Marian McGlinchey, is charged with aiding and abetting addressing a meeting in support of the IRA.

The 58-year-old is accused of holding a piece of paper for a masked man during the annual dissident republican commemoration at the city cemetery on April 25, last year. A number of threats were made against Catholic police officers during a speech.

In May this year, District Judge Barney McElholm refused to return Price and three other defendants for trial because preliminary enquiry papers were not ready.

He had given numerous warnings to the prosecution about what his response would be if the papers were not before the court, however said he fully expected the case to be continued.

On Friday, Peter Corrigan, representing Price, told the court his client was questioned about the alleged incident 16 months ago.

He said the affect of the delay in the case is that the 58-year-old “cannot effectively participate in the proceedings” and there is “no more fundamental prejudice”.

The solicitor said it was the opinion of doctors treating Price that she cannot give her legal representatives instructions and she cannot answer the allegations against her.

The 58-year-old is currently in the City Hospital following a deterioration in her physical and mental health.

Mr Corrigan added the delay was the “clear fault of the prosecution not having their papers ready on time”.

He urged the court to “adopt the exceptional option, but clearly the appropriate one in this case, and stay the proceedings” against Price.

Prosecution counsel Terence Mooney said it was “very important” to remember Price is not in custody in relation to these charges.

He reminded the court the the 58-year-old had been granted bail but was recalled to prison by the Secretary of State and the Public Prosecution Service “has nothing whatsoever” to do with the decision.

Mr Mooney added that “her present condition isn’t caused by anything the prosecution has done”.

Refusing the application, District Judge Barney McElholm said that any delay alleged on the part of the prosecution “cannot have prejudiced her position because it already existed”.

He made reference to a medical report supplied in March, three months prior to him refusing to return the 58-year-old for trial, which raised doubts about her ability to participate in proceedings.

The judge said the situation has come about because Price has “been incarcerated over a length of time and her inability to mentally cope with that”. He added that the prosecution “didn’t do that”.

He said he found “no evidence of an abuse of process” but accepted the case has “other difficulties, not least the physical ability of the defendant to attend the court”

The preliminary enquiry has been set for November 21.