Northern Ireland news

Man facing terror charges refuses to recognise court

 Niall Lehd, left, and former Royal Marine Ciaran Maxwell who was sentenced over the dissident arms dump in Co Antrim

A 29-year-old man refused to recognise a magistrates' court when he appeared today charged with a series of terror-related offences.

Niall Lehd, a serving prisoner, refused to stand when asked by District Judge Nigel Broderick at Ballymena Court in Co Antrim.

He was charged with a number of terror offences relating to two periods of time - including on dates between 2011 and 2013 the intention to commit acts of terrorism, manufacturing explosive devices, the preparation of an act of terrorism and providing information likely to be of use to terrorists; and between dates in 2016, further charges including possession of explosive devices.

A barrel containing bomb-making components was among the cache found at Carnfunnock Country Park

The court heard Ledh is due to be released from prison in March 2019.

Dressed in a casual leisure wear type jacket, Lehd nodded to the court clerk from a seated position in the dock when asked whether he understood the charges that had been put to him.

Read more:Man faces terror charges over dissident weapons dump

Detective Constable Andrew Allen told the court that he believed he could connect Lehd to the charges.

No application for bail was made, and Ledh was remanded in custody to appear again at the court via videolink on January 17.

Lehd was arrested in custody yesterday by detectives who are investigating the discovery of weapons in two forest parks and a number of other sites near Larne, Co Antrim.

A dissident republican who infiltrated the British military was last year sentenced to 18 years in prison for supplying and building bombs found at the sites.

Former Royal Marine Ciaran Maxwell stashed anti-personnel mines, mortars, ammunition and 14 pipe bombs - four of which were later used - in 43 purpose-built hides at eight locations in Northern Ireland and England, including hauls buried in barrels at Carnfunnock and Capanagh forest parks near Larne.

Maxwell, originally from Larne, was a serving member 40 Commando based at Norton Manor Camp in Taunton, Somerset, at the time of the offences.

He was sentenced at the Old Bailey after pleading guilty to preparation of terrorist acts between January 2011 and August 2016, possessing images of bank cards for fraud and possessing cannabis with intent to supply.

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