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Second voice expert gives evidence in Duffy trial

Suspect Alex McCrory.

A second forensic voice analysist has supported claims that a covert recording of three alleged IRA dissidents, as compared with known recordings of the men, provided strong to moderate support they are indeed the suspects.

The undercover MI5 recordings allegedly captured the trio, 52-year-old Colin Duffy, 51-year-old Henry Fitzsimons and 58-year-old Alex McCrory discussing a failed attempt to murder police in December 2013.

Last week, voice analysist Prof Peter French, with over 35 years experience, told Mr Justice O'Hara, a review of his findings, including analysis of other materials, "provided modest to strong support", in the cases of Mr Duffy and Mr Fitzsimmons, while it allegedly provided 'very strong support' for it being Mr McCrory.

On Tuesday Dr Christin Kirchhurubel, a former associate of Prof French, told the Diplock style, no-jury trial, her findings provided similar supporting findings given her own analysis of the various alleged recordings.

Dr Kirchhubel, with over seven years experience, who now operates her own private practice, said the recordings ranged from 'very poor, some of it was average, and some of it was very good in places' and despite some low level background nosies, the materials were 'good enough for analysis'.

In her conclusions she claimed, comparison recordings of Mr Duffy, provided 'moderately strong support' he was one of the three suspects, and in Mr Fitzsimmons analysis, it was 'moderately supportive', while in that of Mr McCrory, 'there is strong support' that he was also one of the speakers.

Dr Kirchhubel while agreeing there were differences in findings made by defence experts, she claimed they could be explained because, in some cases the analysis was carried out using a difference analytical 'approach' from that adopted by her.

She said voice analysis was opinion based, and her findings were made with regard to her training, her on-going professional development and the amount of case work she has been involved.

However, she discounted the suggestion that to have properly carried out her work, she would have needed access to the actual recording devices used in the undercover operation. Dr Kirchhubel said that the limitations of the recordings were apparent from the recordings themselves.

The trio, whose addresses can't be given at this time, deny preparing and directing terrorism, and membership or professing to be members of the IRA. Fitzsimons and McCrory are also charged with and deny attempting to murder police on December 5, 2013, and possessing of the two AK47 rifles and ammunition used in the attack.

They were allegedly covertly recorded and videoed in an MI5 operation "code name Op Idealistic", carried out in Demesne Park, Lurgan, owned and operated by Craigavon Council, the day following the gun attack on the police convoy in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast during which two gunmen fired 14 shots at the three vehicle patrol.

The court has already heard that it was these recordings which were compared and analysed against recordings made during press conferences allegedly given by Mr Duffy and Mr McCrory, together with custody records, and in the case of Mr Fitzsimmons, from telephone conversations and from recordings made when he was stopped at a vehicle checkpoint.

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