A MAN who admitted his part in a surveillance operation on the Dublin headquarters of a number of specialist garda units has been acquitted of IRA membership by the Special Criminal Court.
There was a cry of "Yes" and stuttered applause from the public gallery yesterday morning as the non-jury court delivered its judgment on the tenth day of the trial of Corey Mulhall (43).
The accused man had formally admitted taking photos of the garda complex on Harcourt Square in September 2012 after booking a room in the nearby Harcourt Hotel under the false name "Jason Egan".
In the written admissions, Mr Mulhall said that a named man had offered him money to take photos of a very tall guard, who drove a black Hyundai Santa Fe car, on behalf of another unnamed man, who was in dispute with gardai.
The court heard that Mr Mulhall lied to gardai in interview when he told them he had gone to the Harcourt Hotel to meet a "bird" whose name he did not know.
He said he used a false name because he did not want his wife to find out.
Throughout the interviews, Mr Mulhall consistently denied membership of the IRA.
The court heard evidence from Garda Chief Superintendent Kevin Donohoe, who told the court that on the basis of confidential information it was his belief that Mr Mulhall was a member of the IRA and was such a member within the State on September 26, 2012.
Returning judgment, presiding judge Mr Justice Paul Butler said the court was satisfied Chief Supt Donohoe was a person of integrity and much experience and accepted he held the belief expressed.
However, he said the court would not convict on the basis of such a belief alone in the absence of some form of independent corroboration.
The judge said that, in all the circumstances of the case, the court must have some reasonable doubt as to whether the accused was a member of an unlawful organisation and would therefore acquit Mr Mulhall.
Mr Mulhall, of Daletree Court, Ballycullen, Dublin 24, had pleaded not guilty to membership of an unlawful organisation styling itself the Irish Republican Army.