Strabane man cleared of allowing his basement to be used by paramilitaries

A Strabane man has been cleared of allowing his basement to be used by paramilitaries.

James McGettigan, was found not guilty of providing property for terrorism.

The case was brought after photographs showing five masked and armed men apparently holding a bound and hooded drug dealer hostage appeared in the Strabane Chronicle.

The article also included 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.

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 Judge McFarland said he could not be sure beyond reasonable doubt that McGettigan was in the picture nor when it had actually been taken.

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.