Sunday 26 January 2020

Isis suspect Lisa Smith asks for terror charge against her to be 'discontinued', court hears

Lisa Smith pictured arriving to the CCJ Dublin this morning
Pic Collins Courts
Lisa Smith pictured arriving to the CCJ Dublin this morning Pic Collins Courts
Andrew Phelan

Andrew Phelan

ISIS suspect and former Irish soldier Lisa Smith has asked prosecutors to review the evidence against her and "discontinue" the charge.

A lawyer for the ex-defence forces member (37) made the request as she appeared in court today 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 for the service of a book of evidence.

Ms Smith is charged with membership of a terrorist group outside the state between October 28, 2015 and December 1, 2019.

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The mother-of-one, who left Ireland and married after converting to Islam, was returned here from Turkey last month after spending time in a Syrian refugee camp.

She was arrested on arrival at Dublin Airport on December 1 and detained for 72 hours for questioning.

She was refused bail at the district court 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 when this was resolved on December 31.

She was back before the court today for the preparation of a book of evidence.

Ms Smith, wearing a long grey overcoat over a hijab, with her face uncovered, sat in the public gallery before her case was called.

She then stepped forward and stood with her hands clasped in front of her during the proceedings.

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 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 and mutual legal assistance requests had been applied for, she said.

It was expected the investigation file would be received by the DPP in the coming weeks, she said.

Further charges were contemplated. 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." He was present during garda interviews when the evidence was presented and "it was our opinion that it didn't reach that threshold," he said.

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 Isis.

Judge Hughes said whether a prosecution was taken was a matter for the DPP and not for the court.

He 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.

The charge alleges that she, between October, 28 2015 and December 1, 2019, both dates inclusive “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.

The charge alleges she was "a member of a terrorist group which is an unlawful organisation, to wit an organisation styling itself the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) also known as Dawlat al-Iraq al-Islamiyya, Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Dawlat al Islamiya fi Iraq wa al Sham, otherwise known as 'Da’esh' and the Islamic State in Iraq and Sham.It is an offence contrary to the Criminal Justice (Terrorist Offences) Act 2005."

The Director of Public Prosecutions has directed trial on indictment and the court has already heard further charges are contemplated.

On December 19, Mr Justice Robert Eagar granted bail at the High Court subject to conditions that Ms Smith lodged €500 in cash, with further €5,000 by an independent surety, of which €1,000 was to be in cash.

Under conditions, she must reside at an address in the north east, sign on at a garda station twice daily from 10am – 1pm and 3pm – 6pm.

She was ordered to obey a curfew.Judge Eagar told her she would have to remain indoors from 8pm and not leave until 7am. He told her she cannot leave the jurisdiction or apply for new travel documentation, having already lost her passport.

Judge Eagar told her she must provide gardai with a contact mobile phone number within 48 hours of taking up bail. The judge warned her that she must answer the phone if rung by gardai and if she failed to do so it would be a breach of bail.

He also banned her from accessing the internet or using any social media and the final condition was that she must not have contact with non-Garda witnesses in the case.

At her first hearing on December 4, her solicitor had pleaded for bail telling the district court his had come back to Ireland after walking with her toddler daughter, “through bombs, poverty, and cesspit camps, and desert, to come to her country of origin”.

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