Irish woman facing Islamic State charges freed on bail

An Irish woman who is an alleged member of the so-called Islamic State group has been granted bail.

Lisa Smith, 37, a former member of the Irish Defence Forces, was granted bail following an appeal hearing at Cloverhill District Court in Dublin on Thursday afternoon.

She was arrested at Dublin Airport on suspicion of terrorist offences after returning from Turkey last month.

She was charged with membership of an unlawful organisation, under 2005 terror legislation, before Mr Justice Colin Daly. She had previously been refused bail on the grounds that she could be a flight risk.

Smith, who was being held in Limerick Prison, was granted bail on appeal after evidence was obtained from Professor Anne Speckhard.

Limerick Prison
Limerick Prison (Niall Carson/PA)

Prof Speckhard, director of the International Centre for the Study of Violent Extremism (ICSVE), had examined Smith in Syria and confirmed the accused did not strike her as a dangerous person, and appeared to have “no interest in rejoining or returning to the Islamic State”.

“As a child development expert, I should also say that it would be in the best interest of her child to be reunited with her mother as quickly as possible and not interrupt their bonds of attachment, if at all possible,” Prof Speckhard wrote.

“(The child) has been living in very dangerous circumstances with her mother for a long time and separating her from her mother, who obviously loves her, is just one more psychological trauma in her young life.

“I would also note that Lisa appeared to be a most attentive and kind mother during the time I observed her and she appeared very protective of her child.”

Smith was represented by Michael O’Higgins and David Leonard, instructed by Darragh Mackin and Peter Corrigan of Phoenix Law.

Mr Mackin said: “Our client has continuously denied her involvement in the alleged crimes.

“It is clear from the uncontradicted report by the internationally renowned Professor Speckhard, who advises governments and state agencies across the world, that Lisa does not strike her as a dangerous person, nor somebody who would abscond or commit further offences.

“For all of those reasons, Lisa should, as the court rightly concluded today, be admitted to bail to return to her family.”

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