Holland fails in attempt to have appeal hearing adjourned


The Chief Justice, Mr Justice John Murray, has refused to grant Patrick "Dutchy" Holland an adjournment of his proceedings aimed at quashing a 1989 conviction for having explosives. He has also criticised Holland for failing to establish the credentials of his Italian lawyer, Giovanni Di Stefano.

Holland (66), from Dublin, had sought to adjourn his appeal against his conviction for possession of explosives in Dublin on April 6th, 1989 for which he received a seven-year jail sentence.

Holland was also convicted of possession of cannabis by the Special Criminal Court in November 1997. A 20-year sentence was imposed but that was later reduced on appeal to 12 years. He is due to be released on April 7th.

At a previous hearing this month, he had asked that his appeal proceedings be adjourned until then. At that same hearing, the Chief Justice directed that Mr Di Stefano should lodge an affidavit with the Court of Criminal Appeal giving basic information on his legal and professional qualifications.

The Chief Justice yesterday refused the adjournment. There had been no response to his request regarding Mr Di Stefano's credentials and "no attempt to put in an affidavit one iota concerning his credentials".

"There is no obstacle to Mr Di Stefano acting in relation to a case before these courts. All he has to do is to produce his professional and educational qualification as directed."

Mr Justice Murray was highly critical of Mr Di Stefano who had written directly to him. It was improper for any person and unprofessional for a lawyer to write directly to any judge concerning proceedings which were pending.

Holland had sought the adjournment because he claimed he would have a better opportunity to consult his lawyer on his release on April 7th.

"He has failed to establish that the lawyer specified by him is in fact a lawyer," the judge added. He did not see any reason for giving the case special treatment and he directed that it should take its ordinary place in the list before the Court of Criminal Appeal.

In separate proceedings before the High Court yesterday, Mr Justice John Quirke refused to allow Holland to have private access to Mr Di Stefano while he remained a prisoner.