THE Special Criminal Court has refused a request to strike out a charge of IRA membership against the brother of murdered dissident republican Alan Ryan and another man after an adjournment was sought on the service of a book of evidence.
Vincent Ryan (22) is charged with membership of an unlawful organisation styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the IRA on September 13, 2012.
His co-accused Darragh Evans (23) and Nathan Kinsella (33), are also charged with the same offence on the same date. The three men were arrested following paramilitary activity at the funeral of Alan Ryan in early September.
Both Mr Ryan and Mr Evans were subsequently charged with firearms offensives as part of a garda investigation in to the murder of 30-year-old Michael Kelly, who was shot dead outside an apartment complex on Marsfield Avenue, Clongriffin on September 15, 2011.
On September 21st last, the pair were charged with the possession of an AKM assault rifle and Webley-make revolver MkV1 at Clonshaugh Walk, Coolock, Dublin 17 on September 15 , 2011.
Ms Tara Burns BL, for the State, this morning told the Special Criminal Court that the book of evidence in respect of the firearms charges against Mr Ryan and Mr Evans will be ready next week.
However, she asked for an adjournment until December for service of the book of evidence in respect of the membership charge, as the matter related to a later date and the State was proposing to try all three men together.
Counsel for Mr Evans, Mr Giollaiosa O Lideadha SC, said it was his instruction to oppose any adjournment in these matters further than one week as his client was “most anxious” to make an application for bail but could not do so until the book of evidence was served.
He said that because it appeared the State was planning to object to bail on the grounds of the strength of the evidence against his client, he needed the book in order to fully contest that claim.
Mr O Lideadha asked the court to strike out the membership charge so that his client could proceed with his bail application if the court indicated it was not disposed to grant an extension beyond one week.
Counsel for Mr Ryan, Mr Philipp Rahn BL, adopted the same position, adding that it had been 60 days since his client was charged and no book had been served in respect of either matter.
Presiding judge Mr Justice Paul Butler said the court recognised the entitlement of the accused men to go to trial as soon as possible but noted that neither Mr Ryan nor Mr Evans had applied for bail, while a requirement for a book to be issued before a bail application was “quite unique”.
He said the only adjournment sought in respect of the firearms charges was for one week, and that neither man would be prejudiced by such a delay as there were no available court dates over the next week.
With regard to the membership charges, Mr Justice Butler said that the adjournment sought was relatively short and that it was “very reasonable” for the prosecution to wish to try the men together with Nathan Kinsella, who had the “sense” to apply for bail.
Mr Justice Butler remanded both Vincent Ryan and Darragh Evans in custody to appear before the court on November 21st for service of the book of evidence in respect of the firearms charges, and listed December 11th next for service of the book of evidence on the membership charges.