Lisa Smith: Former Irish soldier guilty of Islamic State membership

A former Irish Defence Forces soldier has been found guilty of Islamic State (IS) membership.

Lisa Smith, 40, had pleaded not guilty to being a member of the group between 28 October 2015 and 1 December 2019.

Smith was, however, found not guilty of financing terrorism by sending money to a man for the benefit the terrorist group.

She had been accused of sending €800 (£680) to a man to fund IS in 2015.

But on Monday the judge, at the Special Criminal Court in Dublin, said the prosecution had not proved she intended for the money to be used to benefit the group, RTÉ reports.

Justice Hunt said the court could not exclude a reasonable possibility that Ms Smith had transferred the money because of charitable or humanitarian concerns.

Smith, who had converted to Islam, travelled to Syria after terrorist leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi called on Muslims to travel to the Islamic State.

The prosecution alleged that she answered the call from al-Baghdadi and became the "life blood" of Isis as a propaganda tool and as a woman who would help to build the Islamic State.

The prosecution said she had enveloped herself in the black flag of IS.

Former Irish soldier denies Islamic State membership

The prosecution said the court could not ignore that Smith travelled thousands of kilometres, knowing about the activities of the terrorist organisation that was "up to its neck in blood".

He said there was no benign Islamic State she could have been attempting to join, there was only the terrorist organisation.

Her lawyers had described the case against her as unique and unprecedented and said there was no evidence that she was a member.

The defence said the prosecution did not show that Smith wanted to become a member of IS and was accepted by the organisation.

It was not enough to say she had travelled to the Islamic State and had been "subsumed" into the organisation.

Her defence lawyer said it was unknown in Irish law for a person to be convicted of an offence without being aware they were committing an offence.

He said she went to Syria to be a dutiful wife and to create a home.

But Mr Justice Hunt said that there was no room for pleas of naivety or ignorance by the time she travelled to Syria. Her eyes were wide open, he said.

The court will later decide on a sentence date and whether Smith will be remanded in custody or on bail.

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