Saturday 20 January 2018

Double killer has case dismissed over summons error

Tom Tuite

A DOUBLE killer who absconded from custody has had a case against him dismissed because the address on a summons was wrong.

John Gallagher (46) shot his ex-girlfriend Anne Gillespie and her mother Annie in the grounds of Sligo Hospital in 1988.

He was found guilty but insane and sent to the Central Mental Hospital (CMH) but absconded while on day release in 2000.

He gave himself up to the authorities in June this year before being released four weeks later.

The DPP had issued Gallagher with a summons for absconding from lawful custody, an offence carrying a maximum six-month jail sentence.

However, Dublin District Court judge Catherine Murphy ruled that the serving of the summons at a wrong address rendered it defective.

After considering legal arguments raised by defence solicitor Dara Robinson, she struck out the prosecution against Gallagher, who did not attend the proceedings.

Garda Sergeant Ivan Howlin, of Dundrum station, told Judge Murphy that on July 7 last he and colleague Garda Michael Lynch travelled to Lifford to serve the summons on Gallagher but he was not present.

Sgt Howlin said some of the Gallaghers still live there and a business operates at Post Office Lane. He also thought John Gallagher still had links to the family's transport firm.

He said he had spoken to Christopher Gallagher, the accused's brother, for about half an hour.

Sgt Howlin said Christopher assured him that he would give the summons to John Gallagher. He said the summons was in an envelope which was left with Christopher.

Christopher Gallagher told the court that he did not know what the envelope contained.

He said John Gallagher regularly comes over the border to visit their mother but he added that he has no connections with any Gallagher business operating out of Post Office Lane.

Mr Robinson argued that the summons was not correctly served in accordance with the District Court's rules. He said the Lifford address is no longer John Gallagher's home or place of work.

Judge Murphy held the serving of the summons was defective because Gallagher's address was listed on it as the CMH at a time when it was known that he was no longer there and that his residence by then "was in fact outside this jurisdiction".

Irish Independent

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