Sunday 11 December 2016

'Tartan terrorist' jailed for hoax bomb threats

Conor Gallagher

Published 24/07/2010 | 05:00

A MAN was yesterday jailed for two years for sending two hoax bomb-threat emails to Heathrow Airport purporting to be from the Scottish National Liberation Army.

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Scotsman Adam Busby (61) was convicted 13 years ago of a similar offence, when he made threatening phone calls to Scottish media organisations.

The court heard that other threats and acts of terrorism claiming to be from the SNLA have originated in Ireland since Busby's arrival here, but he is not facing charges or extradition over these. They include threatening the water supply in Manchester and sending vodka bottles to politicians and journalists in England containing caustic soda.

Busby dubbed the 'Tartan terrorist', and with an address at Santry Lodge, Ballymun, had pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to two counts of sending hoax messages, for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety, at Charleville Mall Public Library, North Strand, Dublin, on May 8 and May 15, 2006. He was convicted by a jury last month and has been in custody since.

Judge Desmond Hogan said it was a serious offence, but on the lower end of the scale because the airport authorities did not believe it to be a credible threat, "partly due to Mr Busby's activities in the past".

He noted Busby's age and serious health problems and suspended the final two years of the sentence for four years.

Detective Superintendent Diarmuid O'Sullivan told prosecuting counsel, Mr Dominic McGinn BL, that both emails made threats against specific transatlantic flights and named their flight numbers.

Both emails were sent while the flights were in the air, but security services decided no action needed to be taken.

Det Sup O'Sullivan said due to Busby's "previous activities" the threat was judged to be minimal and neither the flight crews nor the ground crews were notified.

Investigators traced the emails back to a Dublin public library in Charleville Mall, which Busby frequented. A log book of bookings for the public computers and CCTV footage showed he was the sender.

Intimidation

Busby, who suffers from chronic multiple sclerosis, came to Ireland in 1980 after he was charged with criminal damage on the property of Britain's defence ministry.

Det Sup O'Sullivan said he had numerous previous convictions in Scotland, but these were all for minor offences such as breaching the peace.

In 1997, he was convicted in the Special Criminal Court of making threatening phone calls to the Press Association in Scotland and the Scottish 'Daily Record'. He was sentenced to two years on each count.

The court heard the SNLA was founded in 1980 with the aim of "using coercive intimidation to further the cause of Scottish independence".

The group was outlawed here in 2005 and has been responsible for bombs and anthrax threats over the years. One incident involved sending 1,000 emails to the White House.

Counsel for Busby told the court that he was not facing charges for being in the SNLA and there was no extradition proceedings pending against him.

He said that his client was finding prison very difficult because of his illness. He said he was wheelchair-bound and suffered from speech difficulties.

Irish Independent

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