Gun accused freed over entrapment

19 June 2010
Irish Times

AN ARMAGH man accused of a gun smuggling plot walked free from court yesterday after the prosecution decided not to appeal a judge’s decision to stop the case.

Prosecution lawyer David McDowell told Mr Justice Hart in Belfast Crown Court that “we do not intend to appeal your Lordship’s ruling yesterday so the defendant can be discharged”.

Following an abuse-of-process application from defence QC Orlando Pownall on behalf of Desmond Kearns (44), Mr Justice Hart ruled an MI5 agent known as “Amir” had overstepped the mark to enter the area of entrapment.

In his ruling, the judge said, having reviewed the evidence, “the edifice of the prosecution case now rests on inadequate foundations, and therefore that edifice cannot stand”. He said that given evidence of two meetings between Amir and Kearns in particular, the latter acted as he did because he had been “entrapped” during an operation against the Real IRA.

Kearns, of Tannaghmore Green, Lurgan, had always denied the two charges of plotting to possess guns and explosives between May 2005 and June 2006.

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