Gary Donnelly charged with committing offence under terrorism legislation

A leading member of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement has been charged with committing an offence under terrorism legislation.

39-year-old Gary Donnelly of Sackville Court in Derry, appeared at Derry Magistrates' Court, on Friday.

The charge relates to three pipe bomb attacks in September 2009.

Gary Donnelly is accused of having a mobile phone in circumstances that lead to the reasonable suspicion that its possession was in connection with the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism.

During the hearing, a detective constable told the court that the charge against the defendant related to claims of responsibility by the Real IRA on 11 September 2009.

He said the claims were about "two pipe bomb attacks and a punishment shooting" on that date.

The detective constable said the defendant was charged with the offence as a result of statements made by freelance journalist, Eamonn MacDermott, who received claim of responsibility and on the basis of extensive telephone inquiries.

Applying for bail, defence solicitor Paddy McGurk, said that one month after the pipe bombs and shooting incident, the police contacted Mr MacDermott and took a statement from him.

Mr McGurk said Mr MacDermott told the police that the person who made the phone call of responsibility was not Mr Donnelly.

He added that Mr MacDermott was again interviewed by the police yesterday.

During his interview, Mr MacDermott's phone was seized.

Judge McElholm said before he made a decision on whether to remand Mr Donnelly in custody or release him on bail, he wanted to know if notes of Mr MacDermott's interview with the police were available.

The hearing was adjourned until that has been established.