Man accused of terrorist offences

A 49-year-old has appeared in court accused of committing terrorist offences at a dissident republican Easter commemoration.

Marvin Canning, of 51 Galliagh Park, is charged with arranging, managing or assisting in arranging or managing a meeting which he knew to be in support of a proscribed organisation namely the IRA.

He is further charged with aiding and abetting, counselling or procuring persons wearing the uniform of a proscribed organisation on April 25, last.

There was a heightened police presence inside and outside the Bishop Street building as the 49-year-old appeared for the hearing and police recorded a number of Canning’s supporters as they arrived to court.

An investigating officer told the court he believed he could connect Canning to the charges.

The court heard that a police helicopter recorded the 49-year-old driving members of a masked, uniformed colour party to the Easter Monday event at the city cemetery.

During the commemoration, a masked man read out a statement containing threats to members of the police service or “anyone who would be perceived as traitors by the IRA.”

The officer said the masked man, along with other members of the colour party, were transported to their starting point by a white van allegedly driven by Canning.

He also claimed that the 49-year-old could been seen on video footage opening the rear door of the van to allow the colour party to get out.

The court heard Canning denies any prior knowledge of the colour party, the speech or the content of the speech.

He also told police officers he did not agree with what was said in the speech.

Opposing bail, the officer said police feared Canning may commit further offences or could obstruct the course of justice because he knows some of the evidence in this case.

Defence solicitor Peter Corrigan said his client had no previous relevant convictions and was a “person of good character.”

He added Canning had gave a detailed account to police during hours of interviews about how he came to be in the van and he had no prior knowledge of the statement or any part in drafting it.

The solicitor also said that during two days of questioning no question or suggestion was put to the 49-year-old that he was a member of a proscribed organisation.

Granting bail, District Judge Barney McElholm said he could “appreciate police concerns. Given the fact that he [Canning] has no previous relevant records, I think conditions can cover those concerns.”

The judge said he would not like Canning to find himself in a situation where he “got himself involved with a very reprehensible group of people who made disgraceful threats” and banned him from any event organised by 32 County Sovereignty Committee or any group representing the views of the IRA.

Canning was released on his own bail of £1000, with a surety of £1000 and ordered to abide by a curfew.

He will appear in court again on July 7.