Jury can’t reach verdict on Londonderry man turned Muslim convert

Syrian terrorism accused Eamon Bradley, 28, from Londonderry
Syrian terrorism accused Eamon Bradley, 28, from Londonderry

A jury, for the second time, in the first case of its kind in Northern Ireland, failed to reach a definitive verdict on a Londonderry man, turned Muslim convert, accused of terrorism in the Middle East three years ago.

At the end of the first trial in February, a Londonderry Crown Court jury acquitted Eamon Bradley of possessing explosives, but were hung on the more substantive charges of attending terrorist training camps in Syria and receiving instruction in the use of weapons and explosives.

On Tuesday, following an 11-day trial, over five weeks in Omagh, another Londonderry jury, after almost three hours of deliberation, told Judge Brian Sherrard that even if they were granted further time, there was no prospect of them reaching a verdict.

Through their madam foreperson, when asked if they had reached any verdict in which at least 10 of them were agreed, they replied “No”.

The first indication of a possible split in the ranks of the jury of six men and five women came within 10 minutes of them being asked on Monday to retire to begin their deliberations.

In a note sent into court regarding clarification on some of the evidence, the jury also inquired if they had to bring in verdicts on which they were “unanimous”.

As with the last trial it was left to prosecuting QC Ciaran Murphy to ask Judge Sherrard to adjourn proceedings again for a week when they will be “mentioned again”.

Bradley, 28, originally from Melmore Gardens in Creggan, but now with an address in Benview Estate in the Coshquin area of Londonderry, was accused of attending Syrian terrorist camps and receiving training in the use of firearms, including an AK47, DShK 38 and a BKC machinegun and a grenade between March and September 2014.

The “bedrock” of the prosecution case was that Bradley’s alleged confessions during eight interviews in which he told detectives of joining Syrian rebels opposed to President Bashar Assad and Islamic State were true.

However, the defence claimed that Bradley’s alleged admissions were unreliable, and they highlighted that he was a man unsure of the correct spelling of his own first name, and who had difficulty remembering his date of birth.

They also claimed that far from being a Muslim fundamentalist, Bradley’s only crime was being an attention-seeking fantasist.