Michael McKevitt puts back demand for early prison release

McKevitt sentenced to 20 years in 2003 for directing terrorism and Real IRA membership

Michael McKevitt was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment in August 2003 after being convicted in the Special Criminal Court of directing a terrorist organisation and of being a member of the Real IRA. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Michael McKevitt was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment in August 2003 after being convicted in the Special Criminal Court of directing a terrorist organisation and of being a member of the Real IRA. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

 

Lawyers will make their case for the early release from prison of Real IRA leader Michael McKevitt next Monday in the High Court.

His demand for a one- third enhanced remission of a 20-year sentence, instead of the usual one- quarter remission, was to have been heard today but was put back on the application of his own barrister, Mark Lynam.

Mr Justice David Keane said it was most unusual under article 40 applications for an applicant to seek to put back a hearing regarding his freedom.

McKevitt was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment in August 2003 after being convicted in the Special Criminal Court of directing a terrorist organisation and of being a member of the Real IRA. His sentence had been backdated to March 29th, 2001. The High Court heard last Friday that Mr Justice Gerard Hogan had directed the immediate release of “self-acknowledged IRA prisoner” Niall Farrell from Portlaoise Prison.

Mr Justice Hogan ordered Farrell’s release on the grounds he had not been given proper consideration by the Minister for a one-third remission of sentence.

Senior counsel Michael O’Higgins told the court on Friday that, on the reading of Mr Justice Hogan’s judgment, McKevitt ought to have been released on July 26th.

Diarmaid McGuinness , counsel for the Minister for Justice, said “there is an urgency for the hearing as it presents an opportunity for the High Court to look afresh again at the issues of remission.”