Wednesday 17 January 2018

Meehan can proceed with ‘miscarriage of justice’ case

Only person in jail for Veronica Guerin murder

Brian Meehan
Brian Meehan

Aodhan O'Faolain

THE only person serving time for the murder of journalist Veronica Guerin is to have his claims of a miscarriage of justice heard in court.

The State had attempted to stop Brian Meehan’s bid – but that attempt has been dismissed by the Court of Criminal Appeal.

In its ruling today the CCA said Meehan's application should proceed to a full hearing to determine if there has been a miscarriage of justice.  The CCA found the application as being "misconceived" or at best "premature."

The Director of Public Prosecutions had sought to have Meehan's proceedings struck out on grounds there are no new, or "newly discovered", facts to justify allowing it to proceed, and that it is "an abuse of process".

Today the three judge CCA comprised of Mr Justice John Murray presiding, Mr Justice Eamon de Valera and Mr Justice Brian McGovern said the DDP's application should be refused.

By asking the CCA to determine preliminary issues the DPP wanted the court "to depart from the normal procedure," the CCA said. The range of legal issues the DPP wished to have treated "as preliminary issues," had "encompassed virtually the full ambit of the issues between the parties." the CCA also found.

These issues "go to the kernel of Meehan's application and any hearing to resolve them would be tantamount to a hearing and determination of the case on its merits" the CCA said.

The DPP "had not established any grounds " that would allow the CCA to "embark on any form of preliminary or separate hearing" from the hearing of the application itself, the CCA also found.

Meehan, 48, from Crumlin in Dublin, is serving a life sentence in Portlaoise Prison for the murder of Ms Guerin in June 1996. He has brought an application under Section 2 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1993 to have his conviction declared a miscarriage.

He was not present in court for today's ruling.

Meehan was sentenced in July 1999, following a 31 day trial before the non-jury Special Criminal Court. It is expected that Meehan's application to have his case declared a miscarriage may take some time to prepare before it is heard by the CCA.

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