Former Irish soldier Lisa Smith has been found guilty of joining the so-called Islamic State group in Syria. She was acquitted of a second charge of financing terrorism by sending €800 to a man in May 2015 for the benefit of IS.
The forty-year old from Dundalk wept as judge Tony Hunt delivered the guilty verdict which brought the nine week trial to a conclusion.
The Muslim convert pleaded not guilty to membership of an unlawful terrorist group between October 28, 2015 and December 1, 2019.
Judge Hunt said the prosecution had established beyond reasonable doubt that she travelled to Syria “with her eyes open” and pledged allegiance to the group, led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
On the second charge of financing terrorism, Judge Hunt said there was reasonable doubt that she intended the money to be used for humanitarian purposes rather than to fund terrorism.
During the trial, prosecutors outlined how Smith, who was a member of the Irish Defence Forces from 2001 to 2011, travelled to IS controlled territory in 2015 after converting to Islam in 2010.
The court was told that she bought a one-way ticket from Dublin to Turkey, crossing the border into Syria which was mostly ruled by hard-line Islamists at the time.
As IS lost ground to a US-led coalition, Smith was forced to flee Syrian capital Raqqa before returning to Ireland.
She was arrested on arrival at Dublin airport on December 1, 2019, with her young daughter.
During the trial Smith’s lawyers argued that the prosecution had not shown that Ms Smith wanted to become a member of IS. Instead, they argued that she had travelled to Syria to become a dutiful wife and to make a new home.
However, the judge did not accept that viewpoint stating that she had travelled to Syria with her eyes wide open as was proven by the fact she had conducted extensive research as well as watching propaganda videos which showed extreme and terrifying acts of violence. Three judges who adjudicated on the case deemed Lisa Smith guilty of Islamic State membership and granted her bail until a sentencing hearing on July 11.