Four cleared of PIRA charges

Four cleared of PIRA charges

Two men and two women, due to stand trial charged with arranging Provisional IRA meetings, have had the charges against them dropped after the prosecution offered "no evidence" against them.

As a result, Belfast Recorder Judge David McFarland entered "not guilty" verdicts against Padraic Connor Wilson, James Gerard Seamus Finucane, Briege Wright and Agnes McCrory.Padraic Wilson, 53, of Hamill Park, Andersonstown Road in west Belfast was the only one of the four accused who was present in the public gallery at Belfast Crown Court to hear the verdicts.He was due to go on trial at a non-jury Diplock court accused of two counts of "arranging or assisting a meeting of three or more people, knowing that the meeting was to support a proscribed organisation, namely the Provisional Irish Republican Army".Agnes McCrory, 63, of Dermot Hill Road, 57-year-old Seamus Finucane, of Hawthorn Hill in Hannahstown, and Briege Wright, 56, of Glasmullin Gardens were accused of professing to be members of the Provisional IRA, making threats, and organising or addressing meetings of the PIRA.All four had denied the charges at arraignment.The charges allegedly concerned several meetings held by the Provisionals in the late 1990s and 2000.The case had been listed for Thursday for mention only.However, prosecuting counsel Kate McKay asked Judge McFarland that the charges "be left on the books and not to be proceeded without the leave of the Crown Court of the Court of Appeal" and that the prosecution was "not offering evidence" evidence against the four accused.As a result, the Belfast Recorder said he would enter "not guilty verdict" against Wilson, Finucane, Wright and McCrory.


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