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Nation IN BRIEF : MASSACHUSETTS : Convictions in Plot to Aid IRA Upheld

December 25, 1991|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

The U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston upheld the convictions of an Irishman and two Americans who plotted to send weapons to the Irish Republican Army. In the process, the court said the First Amendment does not protect someone who possesses documents or other materials if they are intended for use in a crime. Authorities say one of the defendants had built a weapons lab, where he worked on a surface-to-air missile system to destroy British military helicopters. Part of the appeal centered on a rarely enforced 1948 law that prohibits people from possessing property or papers for use in a crime to aid a foreign government. The law was applied to the weapons laboratory, but the appeal said the statute should be struck down because its broad language could restrict freedom of speech.

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