Bomb accused bailed for first communion

Bomb accused bailed for first communion

A Co Antrim man awaiting trial on explosives charges has been granted compassionate bail to attend his step daughter's first communion despite the police having serious objections to his release.

Niall Lehd, of Seahill Road in Larne, was granted bail by Belfast Crown Court despite police objections that he faced "serious offences".The 25-year-old has been on remand charged with two counts of possession of explosives with intent, possession of explosives in suspicious circumstances and possession of firearms and ammunition in suspicious circumstances between December 1, 2013 and March 1, 2013.The charges relate to the discovery of home-made explosive substances HTMD along with picric acid, citric acid, a pipe, pipe ends, firework fuse wire, a partially constructed timer/power unit, ball bearings and an electronically powered heater and magnetic stirrer.He is further accused of having a magazine compatible with a sub-machine gun.A defence lawyer told Belfast Recorder Judge David McFarland that Lehd had been previously granted compassionate bail and abided by all the terms.These included surrendering his Irish passport, signing bail at Larne police station, the lodgement of a £2,000 cash surety by his mother Maire Lehd and that he be accompanied at all times during his release by Father Michael Bingham.He said the defendant wanted to attend his eight-year-old step daughter's first communion service at a Catholic church in Larne on Saturday, 17 May.The defence barrister said that on this occasion, Mrs Lehd was unable to put up £2,000 as a surety as much of the money had gone to pay household bills.Prosecution counsel Robin Steer said police were still objecting to bail because of the seriousness of the charges."He has made substantial admissions and there is forensic evidence connecting him to the explosives. The police say this is a serious case," added Mr Steer.Judge McFarland agreed to grant compassionate bail on the same terms as before despite the police objections.However, the Belfast Recorder reduced the surety to be lodged in court to £1,000 in cash.


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