Gun deal accused bailed

28 July 2007
Ivan McMichael

A man allegedly involved in gun-running for dissident republicans was released on bail yesterday after spending a year in custody.  It was the seventh time the case of Desmond Kearns, 42, had come before the High Court in Belfast. 

Kearns, from Tannaghmore Green in Lurgan, Co Armagh, is charged with conspiring to possess firearms and explosives.  Earlier bail hearings had been told about recorded conversations between Kearns and undercover MI5 agents posing as arms dealers when he was alleged to have tried to buy guns and explosives.  But lawyers for Kearns complained that transcripts were inaccurate. 

Solicitor Peter Corrigan said he received a letter from the Public Prosecution Service in which they conceded there were "anomalies". 

Crown lawyer Christine Smith said bail was no longer opposed.  She added: "While police still have concerns about bail there is likely to be continuing delay and that has brought about a change in attitude." 

Mr Justice Weir released Corrigan on his own bail of £500 with two sureties of £10,000.

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