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NI authorities drop Semtex explosive charges against Scottish man

Police had described the find as the largest and most significant in the last ten years.

File photo
File photo
Image: Niall Carson/PA

THE NORTHERN IRELAND Public Prosecutions Service (PPS) has decide to withdraw charges against a man for possession of a massive Semtex haul earlier this year.

Scottish man Thomas Hughes was arrested after the 2.5kg of explosives was found at a flat in Maeve House in the New Lodge area of Belfast.

It was described by the PSNI as the largest and most significant explosives find in the country in the last ten years.

Hughes was interviewed by police and refuted any knowledge of or involvement with the explosives. A court hearing today was told that the PPS has decided to withdraw all charges against him.

Hughes’ solicitor, Michael Madden, said this prosecution “should never have been brought”.

We made strenuous objections both in Antrim Serious Crime Suite and at our client’s first remand hearing as to the sufficency and strength of the evidence said to properly ground this charge. We are pleased that Mr Hughes can now look forward to putting this traumatic experience behind him and to getting back to his normal life.

A spokesperson for the PPS confirmed that the charges has been withdrawn, adding that all of the evidence obtained in the course of the police investigation, including forensic evidence, was “carefully considered” before it was concluded that there was no reasonable prospect of a conviction.

Read: Gardaí release man held over Dublin ‘fireball’ explosion>

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