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Sunday 31 August 2014

Gangland figure Brian Rattigan refused appeal over life sentence for murder

Clodagh Sheehy

Published 19/02/2013 | 13:19

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12/2/2012 File Photo of Brian Rattigan.
Convicted murderer Brian Rattigan has become the first person in the State to be found guilty of drug dealing from behind bars.
PicCollins Courts
Brian Rattigan.

Dublin gangland killer Brian Rattigan has been refused permission to appeal his conviction for the murder of 21-year-old Declan Gavin.

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Today the three-judge Court of Criminal Appeal turned down Rattigan's application to appeal his life sentence for the murder.

Rattigan was not present in court, although his lawyers had applied to allow him be there.

The judges also turned down this application because of the ‘significant expense” involved in bringing Rattigan from Portlaoise Prison to the Four Courts in Dublin.

They agreed to delay publication of the judgment for two- and-a-half hours to allow Rattigan's lawyers to travel to Portlaoise and discuss it with him.

Rattigan, of Cooley Road, Drimnagh, was found guilty of stabbing Declan Gavin outside Abrakebabra at the Crumlin Shopping Centre on August 25, 2001.

He was jailed for life in 2009 after a jury convicted him of the murder of 21-year-old Gavin eight years earlier.

In delivering today's judgement, presiding Judge, Mr Justice Donal O'Donnell said “the history of this case like the trial itself is long and tortuous”.

He referred to the fact that the charge was struck out in September 2003 because of a delay in serving the book of evidence.

When a trial began early in 2009 it resulted in a disagreement and a second trial got under way in November of that year and it was this conviction that was being appealed.

Eighteen grounds of appeal were set out and the hearing had focused on three principal ones the court was told.

These included the argument that witness statements in the case were not applicable because of a change to the law on witness statements and also a challenge to the concluding comments of the trial judge.

The Court of Criminal Appeal rejected all of the arguments and dismissed the application for leave to appeal.

During the trial the jury of seven men and four women deliberated for over 11 hours before returning a 10 to one majority verdict.

Rattigan had pleaded not guilty to the murder. The jury heard that on the night in question a Nissan Micra had pulled up on the roadside outside the food takeaway outlet at about 3am. Declan Gavin walked out of Abrakebabra and approached the car.

Someone inside the car shouted “you rat” then a man wearing a balaclava and carrying a large knife got out of the car and moved towards Declan Gavin.

A witness said that when the man carrying the knife reached Gavin he pulled down the balaclava and said “do you remember me” before stabbing him.

Det Garda Christopher O'Connor attached to the Garda Technical Bureau told the court he found a palm print in “what appeared to be blood” on the window of the takeaway and matched it to the palm print of Brian Rattigan.

Rattigan said that on that night he had been with a married woman, whom he refused to name and said he had not been to Abrakebabra in four months.

Mr Justice George Birmingham sentenced Rattigan to a total of 13 years.

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