“A Diplock Court in Belfast this morning acquitted Ballymena man Paul Darragh who was charged with possession of a document likely to be of use to terrorists contrary to Section 58(1) of the Terrorism Act 2000. It was alleged that Mr Darragh on 13th November 2005 possessed handwritten instructions giving details for making a fertiliser based explosive substance. The information came from a well-known Internet Website known as “The Jolly Rodger Cookbook”.
Mr Darragh’s legal team contended that the information obtained by the defendant was lacking in any detail, crude in the extreme and openly available on the Internet. Mr Darragh answered all questions whilst in police custody and made it clear that he had downloaded the information out of curiosity whilst surfing the Internet. He had then forgotten about its existence until police found it some days later.
In finding Mr Darragh not guilty, Judge McReynolds said today “In considering the evidence in this case I have taken account of all that I have heard and seen and I have had the opportunity to observe the demeanour of the accused who gave evidence on his own behalf. It is for the prosecution to prove each element of the offence charged beyond reasonable doubt, including the likelihood of such a document being useful to a terrorist.”
Ciarán Shiels, a partner in law firm Madden & Finucane, said today:
“Our client has vehemently protested his innocence and denied from the outset that he had any intention to use the information, which is widely available on Internet websites. The last 18 months have been a terrible ordeal and the Darragh family feel vindicated at today’s not guilty verdict’