A DERRY man who took hundreds of photo-graphs and video footage of police and British army personnel has gone on trial accused of having information useful to terrorists.
Opening the prosecution case against 53-year-old Gerard Francis O'Donnell, a lawyer said the amateur photographer had "no reasonable excuse" for having the images, many of which show the faces of officers.
The lawyer also claimed that other images, both moving and still, showed the methodology used by the PSNI and security forces in dealing with situations such as bomb alerts.
O'Donnell, of Strangford Park in Derry, denies a charge of collecting or making a record of information likely to be of use to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism on dates between March 2008 and June 2011 and a further count of possessing useful information in June 2011.
Mr Justice Kerr, sitting without a jury, was told that officers had raided O'Donnell's home in June 2011 and seized various items including computers, media storage devices and camera equipment.
The police 'e-crime' unit uncovered a "substantial number" of photographs and 762 videos of police and police activities, the judge was told.
Arrested and interviewed a dozen times, O'Donnell said while he was not an official press photographer, he had supplied many of the images to the Derry Journal and other publications.
However, he also admitted burning dozens of images on to CDs which he gave to the 32-County Sovereign Movement.
He conceded that when interviewed by An Garda Siochana in March 2008 he accepted the movement was "the political wing of the Real IRA".
O'Donnell said he had pixellated officers' faces in some images but accepted that he had not done so in many others and that facial features were visible.
The judge was shown a selection of still and moving images, taken from various distances and most of them appearing to have been taken, as the lawyer described, "surreptitiously".
The lawyer said the images would have provided "practical assistance" to terrorists.
He said they depicted identifying features and methodology and that by his actions O'Donnell "has gone far beyond that