Monday 24 October 2016

'I don't think I'll lay eyes on killer again' - Veronica's brother

Ruaidhrí Giblin

Published 19/04/2016 | 02:30

Brian Meehan was convicted of the murder of Veronica Guerinun
Brian Meehan was convicted of the murder of Veronica Guerinun
Veronica Guerin

The brother of murdered journalist Veronica Guerin has said he is happy that he will never have to lay eyes on her murderer again after the Court of Appeal dismissed Brian Meehan's bid to have his conviction overturned.

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Speaking outside court, a relieved Jimmy Guerin said it was a "great result" for the family and for the gardaí.

He continued: "I think that's the end of it now. We'll have no more cases. It's not easy (coming into court) but it's important to do it. I don't think I'll be laying eyes on (Meehan) again. He's gone back now to where he's supposed to be and I'm happy with that. I think he will serve a life sentence."

The court dismissed as an "abuse of process" Meehan's attempt to have his murder conviction declared a miscarriage of justice. 'Sunday Independent' reporter Ms Guerin was murdered on Dublin's Naas Road on June 26, 1996, while stopped at traffic lights.

A motorcycle pulled up alongside her and the pillion passenger fired several shots into her car. Meehan (47), from Crumlin in Dublin, is serving a life sentence in Portlaoise Prison for her murder, having been convicted by the non-jury Special Criminal Court in July 1999 following a 31-day-trial.

It was the prosecution's case that he drove the motorcycle.

Meehan had applied to quash his 1999 murder conviction on the basis of alleged new or newly discovered facts, following an unsuccessful appeal against his conviction in 2006.

The alleged new evidence concerned matters which emerged in the course of the 2001 Special Criminal Court trial of John Gilligan, at the close of which Mr Gilligan was acquitted of Ms Guerin's murder.

Dismissing Meehan's application under section 2 of the Criminal Procedure Act yesterday, Mr Justice George Birmingham said it was "entirely clear" that "no new fact or newly discovered fact" had been established.

It was abundantly clear, the judge continued, that all of the material on which Meehan was seeking to rely now was available, at the latest, from the time of the Gilligan trial in 2001 and that the arguments he now presented had been formulated in detail by 2003.

Meehan decided not to present those arguments before the Court of Criminal Appeal and the choices he made had "consequences", the judge said.

To formulate grounds and arguments, not proceed with them and then seek to resurrect the same grounds and arguments years later as new facts was "quite unacceptable and indeed, in the view of the court, amounts to an abuse of process".

Mr Justice Birmingham, who sat with Mr Justice Alan Mahon and Mr Justice John Edwards, said the court was satisfied "not only that all of the material pointed to" by Meehan was "properly disclosed to him and his legal team but also that its significance was fully appreciated by them, at the very least by the time of his appeal against conviction" in 2003.

Accordingly, the court refused the application. Meehan was led away to continue serving the rest of his life sentence.

Irish Independent

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