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Mother of electrician accused of terrorist financing assures court he 'is obedient to me'

25-year-old Hassan Bal faces charges related to the funding of international terrorism.

SCC Rolling 6 Sasko Lazarov / Sasko Lazarov / /

THE GARDA-LED investigation into the funding of international terrorism which led to the arrest and charge of an Irish citizen last week has involved the FBI, Interpol and the London Metropolitan Police, a court has been told.

Hassan Bal (25), formerly living at an address at O’Connell Street in Waterford, was refused bail when he made his second appearance before Waterford District Court this afternoon.

He is charged with providing funding for a foreign terrorist group on 2 October 2015, and attempting to collect funding for a foreign terrorist group on 23 October 2015.

Gardaí objected to bail on the grounds of the seriousness of the alleged offences; the potential sentence if convicted which could be up to 20 years; and the risk of flight out of the country by Hassan Bal if granted bail.

Detective Sergeant Donal Donohoe told the court he believed the accused was likely to commit similar offences if granted bail. He also believed the accused was a flight risk as the address he was living in was no longer available to him:

No permanent address

“He no longer has a permanent address in this country.”

His wife was from the UK and didn’t have any ties to this country, apart from to Bal himself, Donohoe said.

“As part of this investigation we made enquiries through Interpol and other police forces, primarily the London Metropolitan Police and the FBI.”

Cross-examining the detective, the accused’s solicitor Ken Cunningham said the accused’s mother was willing to stand bail for him and allow him to live in her home.

“I honestly believe,” the detective said, “that she is not aware of the full facts of the case.”

Mr Bal is originally from the UK but moved to Ireland 14 years ago with his family and lived in Waterford for several years. He worked as a trainee electrician, is married and lived in rented accommodation in the city centre before his arrest last week.

The accused’s mother, Dr Caroline Ward-Fahy, said it was “very shocking” to be in this situation.

Inspector Tony Lonergan asked her how she proposed to ensure, if her son was granted bail, that he would comply with his bail conditions.

Duty to God

“Since my son was born, when I tell him to do something, he will do it,” she said. “He will do that as his duty to God because his mother is a very important part of his faith.”

She said “I don’t know what’s alleged” but was aware that her son is “innocent, and that will be proven”.

Asked what assurance she could give of her son complying with any bail conditions, she said: “The strongest assurance you can ever have is that my son is obedient to me, because of his faith.”

Cunningham said his client is resident in Ireland since 2003, is an Irish citizen, his mother and his siblings are in Ireland, and his wife is also in Ireland and expecting their first baby.

Judge Kevin Staunton said he had no doubt the accused’s mother was a genuine witness and a believable person and said he accepted she was “shocked by the turn of events that has led her here today”.

He said he was “influenced greatly” by Detective Sergeant Donohoe’s evidence about Bal being a flight risk and said he also believed there was a strong likelihood of Bal committing “further offences of this nature, which are very serious offences”.

Judge Staunton refused bail and remanded Hassan Bal in custody, to appear again in the district court on 9 May.

Comments are closed as the case remains before the courts

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