Man who appears in court on 42 drug related charges

A solicitor has hit out at what he termed the ‘hysterical’ press coverage of a recent arrest operation which the PSNI and Gardai claimed was aimed at the INLA.

Mr Ciaran Shields made his comments as a client of his appeared on 42 drug related charges.

The man who cannot be named appeared at a special sitting of Derry Magistrate’s Court to face charges of transferring criminal property, 26 charges of being concerned in the supply of cannabis, attempting to possess cannabis, two counts of possessing the drug and one of conspiring with others to possess the drugs.

A police officer connected accused to the charges and there was no application for bail.

The solicitor said that there had been misleading statements made by the PSNI and Gardai in relation to this case claiming as they did at a press conference on Thursday that this operation was targeting the INLA.

He said that this arrest and related ones were a result of phone interceptions last year.

He said his client had been interviewed on 11 occasions and not once had the term INLA been mentioned.

He said there had been ‘an hysterical amount of press coverage’ but his client had never been arrested under the Terrorism Act.

Mr Shields said all of the arrests had been under PACE and not under Terrorism legislation.

The defendant was remanded in custody until June 17 when Mr Shields said he hoped to make a bail application.

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