Rocket accused ‘is card carrying member of SF’

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A Derry man accused of possessing a rocket which was allegedly designed to “slice” through armoured vehicles has been refused bail.

Jason Lee Anna Ceulemans, of Lecky Road, is charged with possession of an explosively formed projectile with intent to endanger life, conspiracy to murder and possession of articles for use in terrorism.

The charges relate to the search of a car in the Westway area of the city on December 6, last year.

The 40-year-old is jointly charged with 47-year-old Damien Harkin, of Westland Avenue and 48-year-old Neil Christopher Hegarty, of Sackville Court.

Opposing bail at Derry Court yesterday, an investigating officer said police believe the explosively formed projectile, found in the car with Ceulemans and the two other defendants is “linked to ongoing dissident republican activity”.

He said police fear that the 40-year-old would re-engage with dissident republicans if released on bail.

The officer added that it is “not in the public interest” to release the 40-year-old.

Defence counsel Andrew Moriarty told the court his client is a “card carrying member of Sinn Fein” and this was found on him at the police station.

He said the grounds for applying for bail was delay. A number of forensic reports are still outstanding in the case and the police officer confirmed that the target date for receiving these reports has been pushed back until next month.

Refusing bail, District Judge Barney McElholm said the three defendants has been found in a car with a “murderous weapon”.

He said that the court has “no power over forensic science” however the case is “barely six months on and I have frequently seen greater delays than this”.

The judge said it was not in the public interest to release Ceulemans on bail as if he is involved in dissident activity it is “unlikely he will forego this activity”.

He said the rocket was designed to kill or seriously maim and “this is something we have to put behind us”.

All three defendants were remanded in custody and will appear in court again on June 6.