Friday 6 December 2019

Murderer Nevin fails in bid for secret file

Jason O'Brien

'BLACK Widow' Catherine Nevin's attempt to gain access to a garda file that she claims could help have her murder conviction declared a miscarriage of justice was dealt an early blow yesterday.

The three judges sitting at the Court of Criminal Appeal ruled a document held by gardai on one of the men she solicited to kill her husband was privileged.

Her counsel had maintained the document may be evidence that William McClean had "some sort of secret life" as a state informer.

They argued if one prosecution witness was tainted there was the possibility others could be too as they were connected.

However, the court ruled that the document contained no information that would advance her attempts to have a miscarriage of justice declared.


Authorities in the UK had provided the file to gardai as part of an inquiry into the Dublin-Monaghan bombings in 1974.

Nevin (55) was found guilty in April 2000 of the murder of her husband Tom at their pub, Jack White's Inn, Brittas Bay, in 1996. She was also convicted of soliciting three different men -- Mr McClean, Gerry Heapes and John Jones -- to kill her husband in 1989 and 1990.

Nevin is serving a life sentence on the murder charge and a concurrent seven years on the soliciting charges.

Her appeal against conviction was dismissed in 2003.

Last week, her legal team applied for a production order so that she could be taken from prison to attend the hearing. She didn't speak during proceedings, and was accompanied at all times by two gardai.

Nevin is seeking a range of documents, including garda security files on key prosecution witnesses at her trial. She claims the documents could undermine their credibility.

She also wants an order requiring the DPP to answer whether Mr McClean, Mr Heapes and Mr Jones were state informers and if Mr McClean -- with whom Nevin denied having an affair -- had paramilitary connections. The court heard that Mr McClean had "emphatically" denied links with paramilitary organisations.

Counsel for the State argued that even if a document was capable of undermining Mr McClean's credibility, it was "not relevant" to the safety of Nevin's conviction.

In order to find Nevin guilty of murder, the jury was first required to convict her on a solicitation charge.

The jury returned guilty verdicts in respect of all three solicitation charges.

The hearing continues.

Irish Independent

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