'No evidence' to link men to attempted bomb attack, says lawyer
The PSNI has "no evidence" linking two Meath men to an attempted bomb attack on a police recruitment event in Derry last year, a court had heard.
The two men, Darren Polean (41), from Drumbaragh, Kells, Co Meath, and Brian Walsh (34), from Dunshaughlin, Co Meath, have been in custody since last November on charges linked to the discovery of an improvised device in the grounds of the Waterfoot Hotel in the Waterside area of Derry.
Solicitor Ciaran Shiels told the Magistrate's Court in Derry that the case was "not a nailed-down, slam-dunk prosecution".
The two defendants are jointly charged with preparing an act of terrorism by placing an improvised explosive device (IED) beside the Waterfoot Hotel and with possessing the device with intent to endanger life.
They are further charged with conspiring to cause an explosion with an improvised device. The defendants are alleged to have committed the offences last October 6, one month before they were arrested.
At the video link hearing yesterday, Mr Shiels told the District Judge that several reports in the case were still outstanding.
A report on black insulating tape would not be ready until April 2 and a report relating to satellite navigation from a car allegedly used by the defendants would not be ready until April 12.
Mr Shiels said a DNA report would not be ready until the first week of May.
He said a report shared with the defence in relation to the explosives found inside the device, which had been packed into a fire extinguisher, showed no presence of high explosives.
"It was low-grade explosives, a fireworks mix. The police tried to link the defendants to an explosion in the Everglades Hotel the previous year but they can no longer link the two bombs," he said.
"There is no evidence so far connecting the defendants to the device and no swab evidence which connects the device to the car in which both were travelling.
"The device was found in the grounds of the hotel but the police cannot say if it was placed there one hour, one day, one week or one month before it was found. So far, they are not able to link this device to either of the defendants nor can they give the date the device was placed there," he said.
District Judge Barney McElholm said he hoped all of the reports would be ready for the next video link hearing on April 14. Mr Shiels said if the reports were not ready by that date, he would be making bail applications for the two defendants.
The court had previously heard that on October 9, police found the IED in undergrowth beside the Waterfoot Hotel.
The bomb was concealed inside a fire extinguisher and it contained a primer unit and a timing device. The device was similar to those used in a bomb attack on the Everglades Hotel in Derry on May 29, 2014, in an attempted parcel bomb attack on Palace Barracks and in an attempted letter bomb attack on the Chief Constable George Hamilton last January.