Northern Ireland

Real IRA Guns accused 'entrapment victim'

MI5

A lawyer for one of three County Armagh men charged with gun-running for the Real IRA has said the case should be thrown out because of MI5 entrapment.

Orlando Pownell QC argued that it would be an abuse of process to continue with the trial of 44-year-old Desmond Paul Kearns from Tannaghmore Green, Lurgan.

The three men deny eight charges between them arising out of a two-year MI5 sting operation.

Mr Pownell claimed one of the MI5 men acted as an "agent provocateur".

The entrapment of Kearns, he claimed, was carried out by one of the main prosecution witnesses, known only as Amir, a Secret Service 'role-playing operative'.

He was described by Mr Pownell as "a clever and trained individual" who used deceit to get his own way and Mr Kearns "proved no match for him".

It was Amir, he further claimed, using the incentive of cheap cigarettes, and the possibility of future rewards, who introduced guns into the conversation.

"To say, do you want guns, we say is entrapment," argued Mr Pownell.

Mr Kearns, Paul Anthony John McCaugherty from Beech Court, Lurgan, and 41-year-old Dermot Declan Gregory aka Michael Dermot Gregory from Concession Road in Cossmaglen, deny all the charges.

The trial continues.

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