Suspended sentence for cemetery duo

Anthony Lancaster at a previous court appearance 1703JM03
Anthony Lancaster at a previous court appearance 1703JM03

Two Derry men have received suspended sentences for a terrorist-related offence linked to an Easter Rising commemoration in the City Cemetery which was addressed by a masked man.

Ciaran Anthony Boyle (30) and 53-year old Anthony Michael Lancaster both admitted assisting in arranging or managing a meeting which they knew was to be addressed by a person who belonged or professed to belong to a proscribed organisation, namely the IRA.

The charge arose from an event in the City Cemetery on April 9, 2012 which was held by the 32 County Sovereignty Movement.

It was addressed by a masked man who gave a speech on behalf of ONH/the Real IRA in which he stated that the IRA would continue to attack ‘Crown force personnel’ as well as ‘British interests and infrastructures.’

Lancaster, from Circular Road in the Creggan area of Derry, was described at Belfast Crown Court as being the ‘Master of Ceremonies’ at the event. He was present at the speakers podium and introduced the speakers

Boyle, from The Meadows, raised and lowered the Irish flag, as well as collecting various other flags from members of the colour party present on the day in question.

Passing sentence, Belfast Recorder Judge David McFarland handed both men a 12 month sentence, which he suspended for three years.

Lancaster and Boyle initially denied the charges, and a non-jury Diplock trial commenced last month.

However, the pair then applied to be re-arraigned changed their pleas to guilty.

Following the event, both men were arrested in March 2013 and were taken to Antrim Serious Crime Suite.

During police interview, Boyle made no comment to all the questions put to him.

WLancaster made a written statement in which he claimed to be ‘taken by surprise’ by the masked man.