Explosives accused is refused bail

A man accused of possessing three improvised explosive devices has been refused bail at the local magistrates court.

Anthony Thomas Friel, of Gartan Square, is charged with possessing explosives with intent to endanger life and possessing articles for use in terrorism. The charges relate to a search of a flat in Maureen Avenue on May 21.

The court heard the explosive devices were found when police searched the flat, as well as three timer power units, one 60 minute timer, one 120 minute timer, batteries, sealed worksuits, assorted tools and duct tape.

Friel (31) was stopped by police while driving his taxi and was arrested. It is alleged he had the keys to the flat in his possession at the time.

Opposing bail, an investigating officer said the investigations were at an early stage and a number of items had been submitted for forensic and fingerprint testing.

She said police feared Friel would abscond, commit further offences or interfere with the investigation.

Defence solicitor Kevin Casey said his client has no relevant convictions and and his roots are in the city. He added that no forensic link has been established between Friel and the items that were found.

Refusing bail, District Judge Barney McElholm said there was a “very clear fear” of further offences and a risk of flight.

He said that it is a “very serious matter. These are potentially deadly and evil devices and anyone convicted of possessing or manufacturing them is facing an extremely lenghty sentence”.

The 31-year-old was remanded in custody and will appear in court again on August 2.