I do not normally repost other people’s work on Organized Rage, but I thought what with Christmas coming, Suzanne Breen’s piece from the Sunday Tribune might be a humorous warning to all that we should be careful when buying Christmas present’s.
Controversial ‘bomb-maker’ t-shirt on sale in Belfast
(by Suzanne Breen, Sunday Tribune)
Replicas of a t-shirt, used as evidence against a Co Kildare man charged with IRA membership are now on sale as a fashion item in Belfast. The t-shirt featuring the slogan, ‘I’m a bomb technician – if you see me running try to keep up’, formed part of the case against Art Sherwin (56) in [Dublin’s] Special Criminal Court last December.
Found in the wardrobe Sherwin shared with his wife Beatrice, the t-shirt was produced in court by Gardai [police] who alleged the Co Kildare man was a senior IRA member. Sherwin, who was acquitted, told the Sunday Tribune “the t-shirt should carry a health warning, purchase and beware. Possessing this t-shirt can be a risk if a police force is out to get you. Sometimes, the lunatics are running the asylum. My life was totally disrupted for 18 months on the basis of possessing this and other innocuous items,” he said.
“I had to sign on at the local garda station twice a day. It was a total eye-opener. The standard of evidence required for prosecution can be ridiculous. I’d fear that if the PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland) had it in for some unfortunate individual, they could end up in a similar position to me.”
The t-shirt isn’t on sale in shops specialising in republican merchandise. Rather, it is hanging in the window of an ordinary shop, Stiletto Boutique, in Fountain Street in Belfast city centre. Similarly, the t-shirt found in Sherwin’s home in Clane during a gardai raid in 2005 was bought in the Ilac Centre in Henry Street, Dublin. “My daughter actually bought it for me as a joke because I’ve an explosive personality and I’m always rushing,” said Sherwin’s wife Beatrice.
“It sat in the wardrobe unworn for a year. I couldn’t believe it was used to allege my husband was a terrorist. I went to the Ilac Centre after Art was charged and you could buy the same t-shirt for six-month-old babies. I bought one for a six-year-old child just to show the court that having this t-shirt wasn’t evidence you were a terrorist.
“The guards took the t-shirt and alarm clocks from the house. Other ‘evidence’ was that Art had attended republican funerals. They didn’t mention he’d also attended the funeral of a detective inspector who was a good family friend. Indeed, most of the guards involved in Art’s prosecution were at the same funeral.”
Sherwin’s defence team successfully argued that having several alarm clocks in the house wasn’t incriminating for a man with 10 children. “Art’s prosecution was a waste of tax-payers’ money,” said Beatrice Sherwin. “Coming up to Christmas, people might think the ‘bomb technician’ t-shirt would make a humorous present for family or friends. They should be wary. And anyone who buys one, and ends up in court, should get a good legal team and fight the case every inch of the way.”
October 16, 2007