'Terrorist basement' accused acquitted

'Terrorist basement' accused acquitted

A man has been acquitted of allowing his basement to be used by terrorists.

James McGettigan, who is 47 and from Strabane in Co Tyrone, was found not guilty of providing property for terrorism at Belfast Crown Court on Monday.

The case arose after photographs showing five masked and armed men apparently holding a bound and hooded drug dealer hostage appeared in a newspaper along with a statement from Republic Action Against Drugs warning drug dealers of violent reprisals in May 2010.

It had been the Crown case that McGettigan, from the Urney Road, had allowed his basement to be used and also that he had appeared in the photograph as one of the masked captors.

The judge said while he believed the basement at Derry Road, Strabane, was used in the photograph, he couldn't be sure to the requisite standard that McGettigan had known about it.

A photograph comparison expert gave evidence that markings on the basement wall in the photograph showed it had been taken in the basement of the Derry Road property.

A facial mapping expert also gave evidence that similarities between the visible features of the masked man and McGettigan also lent "moderate support" to the contention that he was in the image.

However on foot of a direction application by McGettigan's defence lawyer, Belfast Recorder Judge McFarland said he could not be sure beyond reasonable doubt that McGettigan was in the picture nor when it had actually been taken as he had heard evidence there was no method of proving the date and time setting on the camera had been correct.

He told the court it was as a result of those findings that he was finding McGettigan not guilty on the single count he faced.


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