Derry man Eamon Bradley has been told he won’t face a third trial accused of involving himself in terrorist activities in the Middle East three years ago.
Derry Crown Court prosecutor Ciaran Murphy QC told Judge Brian Sherrard that the matter had been referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions and “we are not prepared to proceed again”. He asked for the charges to be left on the books.
Eamon Bradley was not in Antrim Courthouse for Tuesday’s short hearing during which Judge Sherrard told the Crown lawyer that it was “the right decision from my own perspective”.
The prosecution turnaround comes a week after a second jury failed to reach a definitive verdict in the case of the 28-year-old who’d always denied travelling to Syria to become a Mujahedin fighter.
At the end of the first trial in February, the Muslim convert was acquitted of possessing explosives. However, that first jury was unable to decide on verdicts on the more substantive charges of attending terrorist training camps in Syria and receiving instruction in the use of weapons and explosives.
A retrial was subsequently ordered, this time in Omagh Crown Court, but after an 11-day trial, over five weeks, this second jury, after almost three hours’ deliberation, also admitted they, too, were ‘hung’ and that, even if granted further time, there was no prospect of them reaching any verdict.
Mr Bradley, originally from Melmore Gardens in Creggan but now with an address in Benview Estate in the Coshquin area of the city, was accused of attending Syrian terrorist camps and receiving training in the use of firearms, including an AK47, DShK 38 and a BKC machinegun and a grenade between March and September 2014.
The “bedrock” of the prosecution case was his alleged confessions to police made during eight interviews in which he reportedly told detectives of joining Syrian rebels opposed to President Bashar Assad and Islamic State.
However, in another alleged ‘intellegence’ interview, to an M15 officer, the Derry man was reported to have told him that he never travelled to Syria.
Defence QC Brian McCartney claimed the alleged admissions by Mr Bradley, a man unsure of the correct spelling of his own first name and who even has difficulty in remembering his date of birth, were unreliable.
Far from being a Muslim fundalmentalist, said Mr. McCartney, Bradley was no desert adventurer like Lawrence of Arabia either and his only crime was being an attention seeking fantasist.