Ballymena Court today heard man accused of ‘preparation of terrorist acts’ wants to be able to watch ‘Green Pastures’ Church Services online from his father’s home

The 'Green Pastures' Church'. Picture: Google Maps.

A MAN accused of ‘preparation of terrorist acts’ by stashing swords, axes, knives, explosives and ammunition at his Glarryford home, who wants an internet ban lifted to watch church services online, is seeking to log-on from his father’s address, a court heard on Thursday.

Robert James Templeton (34), with an address listed as Kintyre Park in Ballymena but formerly of Cladytown Road near Glarryford, is currently banned from having any device capable of accessing the internet as part of his bail conditions.

Ballymena Magistrates Court previously heard the internet ban was put in place because the defendant had bought a number of items over the internet.

Robert and Natasha Templeton.

 

The lawyer earlier said that if the internet ban was lifted a smartphone could be used to view church services and it could be in the possession of Templeton’s wife Natasha (32) – who had worked as a classroom assistant – who is a co-accused in the case.

The solicitor last week said the couple could then view online religious services “from the church which they both belong to which is ‘Green Pastures’.”.

Last week the lawyer said the church, at Galgorm, had not fully re-opened since the Covid lockdown, but the services are on the internet.

The solicitor had said there had been a “break” in the Templeton’s relationship because of the “pressures of these charges” and when Natasha Templeton was living with a family member she was allowed access the online church services.

However, since her return to live with her husband they have not been allowed to view the services on the internet.

The lawyer had said Robert Templeton would only look at the phone in connection with his “religious practices” and said the search history of the device could be checked by police.

Last week a detective constable objected to the bail variation saying the alleged offences essentially were “enabled by the internet – things were bought from the internet”.

He said it was “nigh on impossible” to “police” use of internet by checking history.

The officer said Natasha Templeton had been allowed to view the internet when she was not with Robert but when she moved back in with her husband she agreed to gave up access to the internet.

The policeman said that, last year, police had checked with ‘Green Pastures’ and were told the couple had not attended services or been on their “books” for a period of time.

Last week, District Judge Nigel Broderick asked if it would be possible if Robert Templeton could view the church footage in the presence of someone like a relative who could act as a surety.

The judge said that would mean the defendant could “maintain his religious beliefs and practice” and it would also mean his internet viewing could be monitored.

Judge Broderick said in such circumstances a relative would have to act as a surety and “police” Robert Templeton viewing the religious service and then the device would have to be turned off.

The judge had adjourned the case for information to be brought back to see if that would be possible.

Back at Ballymena Magistrates Court, this Thursday, the defence solicitor said he had now contacted police with a suggestion that Robert Templeton be allowed to attend his father’s address at Kintyre Park to view religious services from ‘Green Pastures’ three days a week.

Judge Broderick said in light of that suggestion he would not deal with the bail variation but allow the lawyer to see if an agreement could be reached with police and, if so, an adminstrative bail change could then be lodged.

Robert Templeton faces a number of charges relating to July last year when items were found at Cladytown Road, Glarryford.

The charges include possession of ‘explosive substances, namely, component parts of multiple Improvised Explosive Devices, a quantity of various types of initiators, a quantity of various types and sizes of fill/shrapnel, a quantity of various types of pre-cursor chemicals for use in the manufacture of homemade explosives, a wireless firework firing system and a quantity of blank cartridges, with intent by means thereof to endanger life or cause serious injury to property’.

He is also charged with possessing ‘explosive substances, namely, component parts of multiple Improvised Explosive Devices, a quantity of various types of propellant, a quantity of various sizes of ball bearings, a quantity of various types of chemicals for use in Improvised Explosive Devices’.

The defendant is also accused of having ‘ammunition, namely, a quantity of shotgun cartridges, a quantity of 9mm calibre ammunition and a quantity of .22 mm calibre ammunition, with intent by means thereof to endanger life or cause serious injury to property’.

Another charge is that he ‘possessed certain articles, namely, a quantity of balaclavas, a quantity of Walkie Talkie communication devices, a Taser, an industrial drill with clamp, angle grinders, threading tool, soldering iron set, cylindrical block metal, rifling drill bit and a quantity of swords, knives and axes in circumstances which give rise to a reasonable suspicion that the said articles were in your possession for a purpose connected with the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism’.

Other charges include possession of an imitation firearm and having ‘information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, namely, a book entitled ‘US Army Improvised Munitions Handbook’.’.

Robert Templeton is also accused of ‘preparation of terrorist acts’ by ‘setting up of an operation to manufacture multiple improvised explosive devices and for the conversion of imitation firearms’.

Despite previous claims in court that the Templetons were allegedly stockpiling food for an “end times” scenario, a prosecutor later told another court, last year: “It’s now accepted there doesn’t appear to be any sinister background to it.

“The press had described it as a doomsday-type scenario where they gathered together all these items for the possibility of shortages,” the prosecutor previously said.

Meanwhile, at Thursday’s court, a prosecutor gave an update saying further information was required.

She said it was “quite a serious case” and asked for a six to eight week adjournment.

The defence solicitor said the case had been “dragging on” and said that during interview Robert Templeton “accepts he purchased all these items off the internet and identified what they are”.

Judge Broderick adjourned the matter to early October.

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