GANG boss Brian Rattigan has lost an appeal against his conviction for the murder of a man more than 11 years ago.
Rattigan, of Cooley Road in Drimnagh, Dublin, was found guilty of stabbing Declan Gavin (21) outside Abrakebabra in Crumlin Shopping Centre, Dublin in August 2001.
Gavin was a former friend and the killing kicked off the infamous Crumlin/Drimnagh feud which led to the subsequent loss of 17 lives.
Rattigan was jailed for life in 2009.
Last week, the Special Criminal Court found him guilty of organising a €1m heroin deal from his prison cell.
Both cases represented successful prosecutions of the notorious organised crime boss by a team of experienced officers from Crumlin station led by Det Supt Brian Sutton.
Now the Court of Criminal Appeal (CCA) has dismissed an appeal it heard last year in relation to the 2001 murder.
Declan Gavin was the first victim of the deadly Drimnagh-Crumlin feud which arose from an internal row over a drugs seizure in a hotel in 2000.
Rattigan's gang feuded with a gang led by 'Fat' Freddie Thompson.
Judge Donal O'Donnell, for the three-judge court, said "the history of this case, like the trial itself, is long and tortuous".
One of the central arguments in his appeal related to the admission of witness statements at his original trial.
A 2006 law allowed prosecutors to admit as evidence statements given to gardai where witnesses - while available for cross-examination - subsequently refused to give evidence, denied making statements or gave evidence inconsistent with the statements.
Rattigan's lawyers said it was unfair to apply this law retrospectively.
The CCA said yesterday the trial judge was correct in concluding there was no unfairness, either under the Constitution or under common law.
While any delays in prosecuting were regrettable, the CCA noted there were other reasons for the trial not continuing sooner, including time taken up by Rattigan's own unsuccessful judicial review proceedings seeking to prohibit his trial because of delay and prejudice.
That case went all the way to the Supreme Court in 2008 and it was a year later that his trial took place.
Rattigan's lawyers had also complained about the concluding comments of the trial judge to the jury which they claimed lacked balance and misstated the defence case. The CCA said it did not consider the charge to the jury to be unbalanced.
The judges refused an application for him to be produced in court for yesterday's decision because of the "significant expense" involved bringing him from Portlaoise prison.