herald

Saturday 25 January 2020

Smith's lawyers ask for terror charge to be thrown out

Lisa Smith who appeared in court yesterday for the first time
since she was released from custody
Lisa Smith who appeared in court yesterday for the first time since she was released from custody

Islamic State suspect Lisa Smith has asked prosecutors to review the evidence against her and "discontinue" the charge.

A lawyer for the former Defence Forces member (37) made the request as she appeared in court yesterday for the first time since her release from custody.

Judge John Hughes said this was a matter for the DPP and granted prosecutors more time to prepare their case. He remanded her on continuing bail, to appear in Dublin District Court again in March. Ms Smith is charged with membership of a terrorist group outside the State between October 28, 2015 and December 1, last year.

Hijab

The mother-of-one, wearing a long grey overcoat over a hijab, with her face uncovered, sat in the public gallery before her case was called yesterday.

A State solicitor said the case was before the court for the service of a book of evidence but this was not ready.

She said that, although only 35 days of the 42-day limit had expired, she sought an extension of time for the preparation of the book, which is required before the accused can be sent for trial to a higher court.

The reason for the requested extension was that it was a "complicated, substantial case".

Information and statements were recently received from outside the State, she said.

It was expected that the investigation file would be received by the DPP in the coming weeks and further charges were contemplated, she said. It was anticipated the book would be ready on March 4, she added.

Defence solicitor Peter Corrigan said there was consent to the adjournment, but asked the DPP to "consider the evidential threshold" in relation to the present charge.

It was the defence's view that it "does not amount to evidence that gives a realistic prospect of a conviction".

Mr Corrigan said he was present during garda interviews when the evidence was presented and "it was our opinion that it didn't reach that threshold".

He asked for this to be "actively reviewed" and the charge discontinued in the interim.

There were issues as to how the evidence was obtained and the defence would say there was not a single piece of evidence amounting to a charge that the defendant was a member of IS.

Judge Hughes adjourned the case to March 4, saying it was in the interests of justice to extend the time for the service of the book of evidence.

Ms Smith, who is denying the charge against her, remained silent during the hearing.

Married

The charge alleges that she "did commit an act which if committed in the State would constitute an offence under Section 21 of the Offences Against the State Act 1939, as amended by Section 5 of the Criminal Justice (Terrorist Offences) Act 2005".

Ms Smith who left Ireland and married after converting to Islam, was returned from Turkey last month after spending time in a Syrian refugee camp.

She was refused bail on December 4 but was granted bail at the High Court two weeks later. Ms Smith remained detained at Limerick Prison over Christmas because of issues surrounding her bail surety but was released on December 31.

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