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25 Sept 2022

Court will consider verdicts in Dundalk woman Lisa Smith trial

Court will consider verdicts in Dundalk woman Lisa Smith trial

The Special Criminal Court has ruled that there is sufficient evidence for it to consider whether former soldier Lisa Smith was a member of Isis and if she funded the terrorist organisation.

Ms Smith's lawyers had applied to the court to direct not-guilty verdicts on the grounds that there is no evidence to support the prosecution case and that to even consider a verdict would be unfair and could lead to a miscarriage of justice.

Mr Justice Tony Hunt today, Thursday March 24th, said that he can see no basis as to how it would be unfair to ask the court to assess the evidence and consider verdicts.

He said the prosecution case, taken at it highest, could support a conviction without necessarily leading to a miscarriage of justice.

The weight to be given to the prosecution evidence, he said, is a matter for consideration during deliberations.

Referring to previous legal judgements, Mr Justice Hunt said that withdrawing a case at this stage in a trial should only be an "exceptional measure to avoid the manifest risk of wrongful conviction". 

In relation to the funding terrorism charge, he said that there is sufficient evidence for the court to consider the intent or knowledge of the accused when she sent e800 to a man who the prosecution allege was, at the time, a member of Isis.

Following the ruling Michael O'Higgins SC, for Ms Smith, said he intends to call one witness, an expert on "caliphates" - states where Islamic law is imposed.

The witness will be available on Monday.

Counsel for the prosecution, Sean Gillane SC, is expected to deliver his closing speech to the court on Tuesday before Mr O'Higgins delivers his closing address.

Ms Smith (40), from Dundalk, Co Louth, an Islamic convert and former Irish soldier, travelled to Syria in 2015 after terrorist leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi called on all Muslims to travel to the Islamic State.

She has pleaded not guilty to membership of an unlawful terrorist group, Islamic State, between October 28th, 2015 and December 1st, 2019.

She has also pleaded not guilty to financing terrorism by sending €800 in assistance, via a Western Union money transfer, to a named man on May 6th, 2015.

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