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Lisa Smith lawyers question legality of her arrest


Lisa Smith arriving at the Special Criminal Court. Pic: Collins

Lisa Smith arriving at the Special Criminal Court. Pic: Collins

Lisa Smith arriving at the Special Criminal Court. Pic: Collins


Lawyers for Lisa Smith, a former Irish soldier who denies membership of Islamic State, have challenged the legality of her arrest when she returned to Ireland from Syria in 2019.

Michael O'Higgins SC told the Special Criminal Court that Ms Smith was arrested on suspicion of an offence under the Offences Against the State Act 1939. He said there was no provision under that Act for offences alleged to have taken place outside of Ireland. Ms Smith, he said, is charged with offences under the 2005 Criminal Justice (Terrorist Offences) Act, and should not have been detained using the old act.

Sean Gillane SC for the Director of Public Prosecutions told the court that Detective Sergeant Gareth Kane gave evidence that when he arrested Ms Smith he suspected her of an offence of membership of an illegal organisation, which is an offence under the 1939 Act. Mr Gillane said prosecutors, during the course of the investigation, may have later changed their suspicions, but the court must consider what the arresting garda believed at the time of the arrest.

Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding at the three-judge, non-jury court, will deliver a judgement tomorrow (TUE).

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Earlier today Det Sgt Kane told Mr Gillane that he was aware on December 1, 2019 that Lisa Smith was on board a flight due to land in Dublin shortly after 10am. Det Sgt Kane said he went to the airport where he spoke to Ms Smith and told her he had reasonable grounds to believe she had committed an offence of membership of an unlawful organisation. Det Sgt Kane arrested her under the provisions of section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act and took her to Kevin St Garda Station. She was held there and questioned until December 4 when she was charged with an offence by another garda.

Ms Smith (39) from Dundalk, Co Louth has pleaded not  guilty to membership of an unlawful terrorist group, Islamic State, between October 28th, 2015 and December 1st, 2019. She has also pleaded not  guilty to financing terrorism by sending €800 in assistance, via a Western Union money transfer, to a named man on May 6th, 2015.

Her trial continues at the three-judge, non-jury Special Criminal Court.