“He benefits from formidable references from the very highest echelons of our society.”

Sentenced to 20 years for the attempted murder, in 1981, of now-DUP councillor, Sammy Brush, former Provisional IRA member Gerry McGeough has been refused temporary release on compassionate bail to attend his son’s first holy communion.

That’s despite his barrister, Sean Devine’s, claim that his client “benefits from formidable references from the very highest echelons of our society.”

[And that would be? – Ed]  The erstwhile Northern Ireland Agriculture Minister, Sinn Fein’s Michelle Gildernew…

It cut little ice with the NI Court of Appeal.  From the BBC report

The barrister also claimed it was likely that McGeough would only serve a fraction of his sentence under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

He told the court: “Despite the seriousness of the offences he has been convicted of, and despite the awfulness of those offences, the fact remains he is going to be released in two years.”

However, Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan, sitting with Lord Justices Higgins and Coghlin, said he was still “a sentenced prisoner”.

“The exceptional thing is he is going to get out in two years despite the fact he’s been convicted for the attempted murder of a postman,” he added.

“The reason for that is the passage of legislation.”

Refusing the application, Sir Declan ruled that the hurdle of “exceptional circumstances” had not been cleared.

He added: “The fact that there is no evidence of harm likely to be caused by him does not deal with the fact that a sentence was imposed on him in relation to matters of retribution and deterrence (for) significant life-threatening activity.”

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  • pippakin

    Is it normal practice to allow fathers out of prison to attend their sons first communion? I don’t know the answer but if it is then imo Mr McGeough should have been allowed to attend.

  • Henry94

    A silly and vindictive decision. People who have convictions for more recent offences are being elected tonight. The Gerry McGeough case needs to be sorted out. Why is he being singled out for the hard line all the time?

  • socaire

    He is being singled out because he is an independent in the true sense of the word. He believes that the Provisional Alliance is administering British rule here.He believes that the PSNI are a British police force and he believes that he is being victimised because he will not toe the ‘party line’. A view, I might add, that is widely shared in E Tyrone but supporters will vote provo as they are most likely to ‘keep the unionists out’.

  • Reader

    Henry94: Why is he being singled out for the hard line all the time?
    He isn’t. As the judge pointed out: ‘the hurdle of “exceptional circumstances” had not been cleared’. That also answers pippakin’s question, I think.

  • Pete Baker

    “People who have convictions for more recent offences are being elected tonight”

    People who have served their sentences, some possibly under the terms of that recent legislation, are being elected tonight.

    And some people who have not been convicted are also being elected tonight.

    Until he’s released under licence Gerry McGeough is being treated like any other attempted murderer.

    That’s the rule of law.

  • Henry94

    And some people who have not been convicted are also being elected tonight.

    Indeed I’m sure the vast majority of MLAs have not been convicted and are therefore innocent under the rule of law.

  • pippakin

    Pete Baker

    There are exceptions to every rule, especially the rule of law in the north. if it is normal practice for fathers to attend their sons first communion then it makes no difference who the prisoner is he should be allowed to go. in fact since it is well known that Mr McGeough is a devout Catholic, and prisoners are allowed out for all sorts of reasons, the decision not to let him attend does have the whiff of victimisation about it.

  • The decison to not grant Gerry compasionate parole to share a special day with his son is quite vindictive by the British Judicary etc.

    Gerry McGeough is an Irish Republican Prisoner, in the past all those inside as a result of the Conflict honoured compassionate bail and paroles. As such, Gerry should’ve been allowed out for a few hours. Exactly what harm would it have done to the whole corrupt system which is incarcerating him?

    He would’ve returned to Maghaberry at the specified time and finished his sentence. As many, many Political Prisoners had done in the past. The Judiciary, Courts, Prison Service, Screws, Prisoners and RUC/PSNI know there is a Code of Conduct amongst Republican Prisoners. Therefore, the refusal is nothing short of revenge on behalf of the State!

  • Mr Crumlin

    Apart from the pseudo che/wolfie smith rhetoric of Ard Eoin Rep – he is right. This is a silly and short sighted decision by the Brits. Gerry will be out in just over a year but somehow they argue he will do a runner on his son’s important day!

  • joeCanuck

    I don’t know much about the man but I do believe in redemption. He probably should have been let out for a few hours. Since he has been living openly for quite a few years, he is unlikely to do a “runner” especially since that would be a post-GFA offence and subject to a stiff penalty.

  • Reader

    joeCanuck: I don’t know much about the man but I do believe in redemption.
    Hypothetical in this case, since there is no sign of remorse at all.
    joeCanuck: he is unlikely to do a “runner”
    No-one suggested he would. Also “no evidence of harm likely to be caused”. But this wasn’t a bail application. The man is doing (a short part of) his (long) sentence.

  • Driftwood

    What is ‘communion’? It sounds like Provo bollocks, Is it a vatican incantation, voodoo against the Police and Army?
    Our local Bin Ladens like McGeough are lucky to live in a very, very tolerant society.

  • junkyarddog

    It disgusts me that Mc Geough was sent to prison while no one has been convicted of murder or attempted murder in relation to bloody Sunday or The Ballymurphy Massacre. The British establishment are very selective when they are administering justice.

  • Nunoftheabove

    junkyarddog

    Who in this instance represents the British establishment ? Who do you believe actually takes the decision to prosecute McGeough but no-one in relation to BS or B’murphy (yet) ? It sounds like you believe there’s some form of elite unseen 6 counties Bilderberg-type committee who are governing all of these decisions. Do you ?

  • AGlassOfHine

    Apparently he’s a ” devout catholic ”

    Well indeed…………not so ” devout ” that he attempted to murder a fellow human being !!

    Maybe the Holey Papa should intervene…..as in Mugabe ?? 😉

  • junkyarddog

    Nunoftheabove:
    That is a VERY big yet

  • Nunoftheabove

    junk

    You’ve not answered the question. There is no conspiracy preventing the BS families from seeking to bring prosecutions aginst some of the BS killers so there’s an IF there too.