We act on behalf of the 48 year old Creggan man who was arrested in the Feeney area of County Derry on Tuesday under section 41 of the Terrorism Act 2000. It was widely reported in the Press and Media that he “was further arrested on suspicion of possession of a Class A controlled drug and he was released on bail pending further enquiries.”
The correct position is as follows: Our client was questioned for two days in Musgrave Serious Crime Suite in relation to the offences of attempted murder, possession of explosives with intent, possession of articles likely to be of use to Terrorists, and IRA membership. He was questioned for two days and was released late on Wednesday afternoon. Not a single shred of evidence linking him to the recent incident in which a crude device was attached to a vehicle belonging to a PSNI employee was put to him. It appeared to us that the arrest was one of a recent series aimed at collecting up to date forensic samples and asking Republicans as to their whereabouts and movements between Friday 16th and Monday 19th April 2021.
Towards the end of the arrest, we were made aware of the fact that police had found a small powdery substance in a bag in one of a number of spare bedrooms of the house in Feeney where our client was visiting. Police suspected that it could be illegal drugs and that they were intending to ask our client to account for it, if he could. We enquired as to the amount of the suspect drugs, the type of suspected drugs and if was believed to be a Class A, B or C substance, the nature of bag it was said to be found in, if any other type of paraphernalia was present anywhere, if it had been photographed in situ or at all, if it had been swabbed or examined for DNA or Fingerprint analysis and finally if it even had been field-tested. Interviewing officers were unable to provide any of this information at all.
In addition, we pointed out that the PSNI were well aware of where our client resided, particularly given that they raided his flat in the Creggan area of Derry City as recently as November 2020. Finally we asked them to explain why PSNI were only wishing to put this item to our client, given that they were well aware of his very public anti-drugs position within the community, and his background and they had not even spoken to the two adults who actually reside in the property on a full time basis. Nothing was forthcoming in this regard from Police.
Our client answered every question put to him in this regard and emphatically denied knowledge of and any form of possession of this item, which may not even turn out to be a controlled drug at all, when it is analysed. He also vehemently made the point that he could never be forensically connected either to the substance itself or the bag in which it was contained, because he is totally innocent of this allegation. We therefore have been instructed to lodge a complaint to the Police Ombudsman’s Office in relation to the misleading, imbalanced and mischievous press statement that has been disseminated in relation to this matter.