Saturday 18 November 2017

Man in jail for role in conspiracy to rob €1m transit van given permission to challenge length of sentence

Alan Bradley
Alan Bradley

A MAN serving a prison sentence for conspiracy to rob a security van containing €1million in cash has been given permission by the High Court to challenge a refusal to grant him one-third remission.

Alan Bradley (41) would be entitled to be released on June 13 if he got one-third remission, rather than the normal one-quarter, the court heard.

He is also to bring a constitutional challenge over the requirement that a prisoner seeking to bring judicial review proceedings such as these has to pay around €400 in stamp duty before they can lodge the papers.

His counsel Micheál O'Higgins was given leave by Mr Justice Seamus Noonan to bring the remission refusal challenge against the governor of Portlaoise prison.

In 2012, Bradley was jailed for nine years, with two suspended.  On appeal it was reduced to eight with the final 18 months suspended.

Bradley, with an address at Churchfields, Kentstown, Co Meath, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to conspiring to take the cash from a security van, containing around €1m, from Chubb Ireland on November 2, 2007 at Tesco, Celbridge, Co Kildare.

Mr O'Higgins said his client was seeking to challenge the remission refusal because it was based on an unlawful fixed policy of the prison authorities towards certain categories of offences.

He was entitled to one-third remission because he had had fully engaged with offences-focused work activities prior to release, he said.

There was also a failure by the prison authorities to engage with his case and the reasons for refusal were vague, counsel said.

In relation to the constitutional challenge, counsel said they would be arguing that an impecunious person such as his client meant he was being denied access to the courts.

Mr O'Higgins said that while the central office of the High Court had not sought the stamp duty when his solicitor was lodging papers for this case, it may be sought yet.  Counsel was aware that requests for a waiver of the stamp duty in other cases have been refused.

Mr Justice Noonan granted leave and said the matter could come back before him later this month.

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