Wife-killer Dermot McArdle looks set to prolong his battle against imprisonment in Spain after a special hearing of the High Court yesterday heard he now intends appealing his extradition to the Supreme Court.
The 42-year-old, from Dundalk, Co Louth, had already exhausted all legal appeals in Spain when he was arrested yesterday after surrendering himself at Dundalk garda station on foot of a European Arrest Warrant for his imprisonment for the killing of his wife, Kelly-Anne Corcoran, in February 2000.
Det Sgt Jim Kerwin told Mr Justice Barry White about arresting McArdle: "He said there is a Supreme Court case pending and I have documents to prove it. That is the only reason I have not surrendered myself."
Det Sgt Kerwin told the court that he went to McArdle's house at Brookfield, Haggardstown, Dundalk, yesterday morning, on foot of the warrant for his extradition. He said McArdle was not there but he was able to make contact with him and he agreed to present himself at Dundalk garda station, which he did.
Det Sgt Kerwin presented him with copies of the warrant in both Spanish and English and advised him of his rights.
Mr Ronan Kennedy, counsel for the State, told the judge that the terms sought for bail were a personal warranty of €150 and an independent surety of €20,000. McArdle was to surrender his passport and agree not to apply for a duplicate passport or any other travel documents and not to buy tickets to travel to the North. He is also to sign on daily at Dundalk garda station.
Counsel for McArdle, Mr Mark Lynam, instructed by solicitor Frank McDonnell, told the court his client had been out of work since September 2008 and was in receipt of social welfare payments of €253 on which he had to support two teenage children.
McArdle's parents, Dermot and Breige, were in court and it was agreed that McArdle be taken to Cloverhill Prison for the independent bail surety to be signed.
Mr McArdle will appear before the High Court on Wednesday, February 9.
The judge informed McArdle that he had the right to representation and to the assistance of an interpreter if that was required.
McArdle, who was dressed in jeans and a grey cotton jacket, sat impassively through the 30-minute hearing before he was taken by gardai to Cloverhill where he was later released on bail.
After prolonged delays and appeals, Dermot McArdle was finally convicted two years ago by a Spanish court of the negligent homicide of his wife, Kelly-Anne Corcoran. He further appealed the issuing of the arrest warrant in Spain delaying the process for another two years.
The warrant was finally executed yesterday after it was endorsed in the High Court on Friday afternoon.
McArdle has already racked up massive legal fees in Spain. He appealed his 2008 conviction to Spain's Constitutional Tribunal, its highest court, in an effort to avoid the sentence.
His appeal to the Constitutional Tribunal in October last year failed and the warrant was issued for his arrest.
He made a further appeal against the issuing of the warrant, but all related legal matters in Spain were completed recently and gardai received the warrant at the end of last week.
Spanish police initially closed their investigation in 2000 after finding no evidence of foul play. But, subsequently, gardai in Dundalk interviewed relatives of Ms Corcoran.
During the initial court proceedings in Spain it was said that the couple's young son had told a relative his mother had been "pushed by daddy".
In February last year, the Superior Court in Granada ordered McArdle to pay all costs relating to his legal battle, amounting to €500,000. The Spanish courts also awarded €100,000 to Ms Corcoran's parents and McArdle was also ordered to pay compensation of €60,000 to each of his sons.
The Spanish trial heard Ms Corcoran, 29, fell from their balcony at a hotel in Marbella in the Costa del Sol after a violent argument with her husband. He was sentenced to two years' imprisonment. McArdle's sentence took into account mitigating circumstances, including that he attempted to stop his wife from falling after he manhandled her.
In February 2010, his appeal failed and he was ordered to return to Spain to serve his sentence. In March, he was given a 30-day deadline to come up with the €220,000 compensation to Ms Corcoran's parents and his sons and hand himself over.
McArdle appealed again. His lawyers claimed he was being treated unfairly in comparison with other people who receive similar sentences.
In Spain, jail terms of two years or less are generally suspended for first-time offenders.
Last July, the Spanish Supreme Court rejected the appeal and ordered McArdle to return to Spain and present himself to the authorities before August 5.