Meehan lawyers get time for defence


Lawyers for a Dubliner, Mr Brian Meehan (31), yesterday in The Hague secured more time to prepare his defence against extradition. The Dutch Supreme Court, in a preliminary hearing of Mr Meehan's appeal against a District Court extradition order, adjourned the case until March 3rd to allow lawyers to finalise their case.

Mr Meehan faces 18 charges in Dublin in relation to drugs, firearms and the murder of the journalist Veronica Guerin in June 1996. A hearing of the Amsterdam District Court on November 25th was told that he was believed to have been the driver of the motorcycle whose passenger shot the journalist.

He is being held, after his arrest last October outside Amsterdam Central Station, in a prison in Nieuw Vosseveldt about 100 miles from the city.

The appeal process is expected to take a further four to five months following the March hearing. The Attorney General first gives a preliminary opinion on the case before the five-judge court makes a recommendation to the Minister for Justice, Ms Winnie Sorgdrager.

Lawyers for Mr Meehan in the District Court argued that he could not get a fair hearing in Dublin because of publicity surrounding the case and that the charges were too vague. But the court argued that the judges in Dublin, hearing the case in the juryless Special Criminal Court, would be able to put aside such prejudicial material.