Saturday 1 October 2016

Garda killer's bid for prison release is turned down

Tim Healy

Published 21/10/2015 | 02:30

Mr Justice Paul McDermott dismissed McHugh’s case, stating that under the separation of powers, the court could not compel the Minister for Justice to further commute or remit the sentence
Mr Justice Paul McDermott dismissed McHugh’s case, stating that under the separation of powers, the court could not compel the Minister for Justice to further commute or remit the sentence

A man who has spent decades behind bars for the murder of a garda has lost a High Court action aimed at securing his immediate release from prison.

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The action was brought by Michael McHugh, who shot dead Sergeant Patrick Morrissey following an armed robbery in 1985.

McHugh was initially sentenced to death for the murder. The sentence was commuted to 40 years' penal servitude by the then President Patrick Hillery, seven days before the execution was scheduled.

In proceedings against the Governor of the Prison, the Minister for Justice, the Irish Prison Service and the DPP, McHugh claimed when the 25pc remission generally granted to prisoners is taken into account he is due for release after 30 years, which he has served.

He also argued that he was not given credit for five months that he spent in custody before his trial.

Mr Justice Paul McDermott dismissed McHugh's case, stating that under the separation of powers, the court could not compel the Minister for Justice to further commute or remit the sentence.

Irish Independent

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