Northern Ireland

Alleged New IRA chief who has spent more than three years in custody loses battle for bail at the High Court

David Jordan
David Jordan

An alleged New IRA terror chief who has spent more than three years in custody has lost a High Court battle to be released on bail.

A judge ruled on Tuesday that David Jordan, 52, must remain behind bars on charges of directing the dissident republican organisation.

Mr Justice Fowler held: “Given his alleged role as an organiser and leader it is much more difficult to construct conditions that would give the required protection to the public.”

Jordan, of Cappagh Road in Dungannon, Co Tyrone, is accused of rising through the ranks to become chair of the New IRA’s Army Council. 

Prosecutors also claimed he travelled to Beirut in his role at the head of the paramilitary organisation in a bid to forge links with other international groupings.  

Jordan was among ten people arrested and charged following a major surveillance investigation mounted by police and MI5.

Codenamed Operation Arbacia, detectives secretly bugged gatherings at properties near Sixmilecross and Omagh, Co Tyrone in February and July 2020.

Just over 16 hours of combined audio and video recordings has been obtained.

Those in attendance were said to have discussed targets, weaponry, finances and recruitment, as well as the possibility of launching a hard economic bombing campaign and cyber-attacks within the UK.

They also explored the possibility of developing a relationship with a foreign regime hostile to the United Kingdom.

Jordan allegedly addressed the meetings as chair of the dissident grouping.

It was claimed that he attended another meeting in Edinburgh with Palestinian doctor Issam Bassalat, who is accused of preparatory acts of terrorism in connection with the same investigation.

Based on recordings and travel documents, the prosecution contended that Jordan's leadership role also involved travelling to the Middle East in 2019.

A Crown lawyer argued that the trip to Beirut was undertaken to forge links with international groups.

Jordan faces charges of directing terrorism, belonging to a proscribed organisation, and preparation of terrorist acts,

An alleged 30-year involvement in dissident republican activity has left him with a mindset “impervious to change”, prosecution counsel claimed. 

Jordan’s lawyers stressed that he does not accept attending any of the meetings.

The court was told no specific wrongdoing had been outlined in connection with his trip to Beirut.

Highlighting the period of three years and three months spent on remand in custody, defence lawyers predicted that he is unlikely to go on trial before 2025.

A £15,000 cash surety was also offered by Jordan’s elderly parents as part of attempts to secure his release.

However, Mr Justice Fowler refused bail due to concerns about any potential further serious offending.

He ruled: “The risks posed are relevant, sufficient to outweigh his rights and justify his continued remand in custody.”