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Tuesday 2 September 2014

Judges dismiss appeal by Real IRA chief McKevitt

Aodhan O Faolain

Published 20/04/2013 | 05:00

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Michael McKevitt

THE Court of Criminal Appeal has dismissed a bid by the Real IRA's Michael McKevitt to have his conviction for directing terrorism declared a miscarriage of justice.

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In August 2003, McKevitt (63) became the first person in the State to be jailed for directing terrorist activities.

In its ruling, the three-judge court with Mr Justice John MacMenamin presiding, dismissed McKevitt's action.

Mr Justice MacMenamin said that court was acceding to the State's application to strike out the matter because McKevitt's application was "unstateable and unarguable". McKevitt was not present.

His lawyers had argued that his conviction for directing terrorist activities should be set aside because a search warrant used to search his home was issued under Section 29 of the Offences Against the State Act, which the Supreme Court subsequently ruled as unconstitutional.

They also argued that evidence used against McKevitt at trial was taken while he was not legally represented.

The State asked the court to dismiss the application as it was not based on any new or newly discovered fact.

Following a lengthy trial, McKevitt was convicted by the Special Criminal Court in August 2003 of IRA membership and of directing the activities of the IRA. He was jailed for 20 years.

Two years ago he lost an appeal against a Belfast civil court's ruling that found him liable for the Omagh bombing.

Irish Independent

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