Brendan Lillis freed – despite David Ford’s ‘best professional advice’

Brendan Lillis has been released from his detention without charge – despite the Life Sentence Review Commission and Justice Minister, David Ford, claiming his continuing detention was legitimate.

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  • keano10

    Welcome news.

  • Dearbhla

    At last common sense prevailed/

  • ranger1640

    No doubt Lillis, and the boys will be knocking back pints of Tiger beer back in the felons when he gets on his feet.

    For his sake lets hope he doesn’t get well too soon. We would hate to see him making that re-acquaintance with Maghaberry.

  • The humane thing to do. Should have happened before it did.

  • keano10

    “tiger beer in The Felons”??

  • Just ignore him, keano 10. He’s just trying to get a rise out of someone, anyone. In other words, a troll.

  • michael-mcivor

    Why does doing the right thing always take so long-
    Brendan is still in hospital- but is now free with those that love him-

  • lamhdearg

    If this man makes a recovery, ie, is seen in the felons club drinking anything, would the law be able to put him on trial for the crime of which he was charged, but has thus far escaped justice.
    Unrealted to brendan(wink wink) but a common enough thing in tiger kidnappings, a qustion for some of you if someone held a gun to your wifes/childs head just to get money for themselves would you be sympathetic, to their plight if they became ill.

  • Cynic2

    “but is now free with those that love him”

    ….unlike the many victims of his associates

  • lamhdearg

    After Brendens release surely micky stone must follow, he is after all sicky bad as well.

  • So who released him?

  • michael-mcivor

    lamhdearg is looking for the release of a convivted criminal- stone the stormont failure-

  • HeinzGuderian

    Brandon,the tiger kidnapping failure,being a nat/rep,could never be guilty of anything !! ( let alone convivted )

  • Mark

    Lamhdearg , to answer your question hypothetically speaking of course , I would want an eye for an eye if someone / anyone put a gun to my daughter’s head . My wife ? I’m not so sure . Mind you it would take one brave mad dog to pull a weapon on her in doors .

    There is a train of thought however that any alleged fund raising in today’s world is no different to anything previously carried out by other groups . But I see that can of worms has already been opened .

  • lamhdearg

    I am not “looking for the release” of anyone, but let me put it this way.
    There was a post on slugger a while back, it compared unionist and irish nationlist politicains in their response and actions to riots emulating from “their” side, the gist was that peter was bad and martin was good due to the fact that peter was to close to the uvf, what would the same people who supported this view say if peter called for the release of micky stone due to him being ill, in the same way that martin called for the release of brenden.

  • Red Rob

    Very strange decision to release a prisoner who, before his illness, was obviously regarded as a danger to society.

    If his release is purely om medical and compassionate grounds, are we now to believe that arthritis is now a life threatening condition?

    If his health improves I assume he can still be tried for his most recent alleged criminal activity?

  • iluvni

    So, is this his last chance or can he use this ‘illness’ as a permanent get out of jail free card?

  • michael-mcivor

    lamhdearg- some say that the law is an ass- but brendan was not being held in prison because of the law- stone is

  • HeinzGuderian

    Brandon was being held in prison for his ‘alleged’ involvement in a tiger kidnapping !!
    ( not because he has/had arthritis !!! 🙂

  • lamhdearg

    brendan was being held because of the law, then he was released due to political interference, then he was held again, and then he was released again due to political interference (it seems).

  • nightrider

    Shades of General Pinochet, who unlike this guy, was never convicted of any criminal offence, being set free for political considerations. Augusto famously flung his stick away at Santiago airport.
    Marty’n’Pete must have told the Dept. of Justice (sic) to let him go.
    Favours called in and all that.
    Wonder if Ford knows (or cares).
    Does anyone else?

  • lamhdearg

    i care, nightrider, i care. (little, family guy, quote, not the nightrider bit off course).

  • nightrider

    Abdel Basset al-Megrahi was freed, on compassionate grounds with only days to live. So the same should apply here.
    I presume al-Megrahi died soon after release,days, or it would make a mockery of justice.
    Obviously this is similar and the poor guy will suffer the same fate as al-Megrahi within the week. sad

  • Lionel Hutz

    dont see the issue with Brendan Lillis being released. If he remains unwell, then compassion will have been shown and theres nothing wrong with the decision. If his health improves, he can be prosecuted for his alleged crime, in which case the decision will also have been correct.

    Its the right decision and the al-Magrahi comparison is not apt.

    Anyway, on al-Magrahi, i cant judge the medical evidence – but if the medical evidence suggested he was dying then the Scots made the right decision.

    And I would say the same with Michael Stone

  • nightrider

    On 30 July 2009, it was claimed by representatives of Biggs that he had been given ‘permission’ to challenge the decision to refuse him parole. …….

    Following his release from prison, Biggs’ health improved, leading to suggestions that he might soon be moved from hospital to a nursing home. In response to claims that Biggs’s state of health had been faked, his lawyer stated, “This man is going to die, there is going to be no Lazarus coming back from the dead, he is ill, he is seriously ill.”However, Biggs himself stated, “I’ve got a bit of living to do yet. I might even surprise them all by lasting until Christmas, that would be fantastic.”
    August 20,2011, Biggs is doing great, looking forward to watcing West Ham beating Leeds utd on Saturday…

  • tomthumbuk

    So predictable!
    So when did ankylosing spondylitis cause chronic muscle wasting?
    I’ve been in the health profession for thirty something years and I’ve never seen it.
    They should wait until he recovers and bring him before the courts.
    It’s a joke, if you don’t believe me, I’ll lsee you in a year or two’s time!

  • Lionel Hutz

    But thats the point Tomthumb, if he gets better then prosecute him.

    At this point we know he was judged unfit to stand trial, we know also that if he has been bedridden for 18 months, he is unlikely to be a threat to society. So why keep him locked up. He served his first sentence.

  • Lionel Hutz

    Oh and TTUK, one other thing,

    Im no doctor but a quick google of AS and eight loss produces various hits, including:

    both of which list weight loss as a symptom.

    Also, if I am not mistaken muscular atrophy does not have to be caused by a disease itself but can be a side effect from lack of activity as result of a debilitating disease.

    For example:

    “In the general population, most muscular atrophy results from disuse. Sedentary jobs and decreased activity as individuals age can result in loss of muscle tone and significant muscular atrophy. Disuse atrophy also can result from immobilization in a cast or sling. Reduced use of a muscle due to joint pain can occur after an injury or following the joint pain and inflammation of severe rheumatoid arthritis. Disuse atrophy may also occur at the same time as a nerve supply interruption, as seen in ankylosing spondylitis. Muscular atrophy caused by lack of use is reversible with appropriate exercise.”

  • MonkDeWallyDeHonk

    Lionel Hutz

    Good point – an oasis of common sense in a desert of trolling.

    As you say, if Lillis is too ill to stand trial and no threat to anyone, the compassionate thing to do is to free him to be with his family. If he recovers to a point where he can stand trial then let him do so.

    BTW, I also think the same should apply to Michael Stone – as much as I despise him, I don’t believe in double standards – unlike others here.

    A point I raised before on this topic – it’s amazing how many Unionist posters on here are outraged by Lillis being released (despite the clear medical evidence in support of this) but have no problem with “Loyalist” mass murderer Torrens Knight being released after being convicted on a vicious assault while out on licence and having no medical issues as mitigation.

    Like I said – double standards from the usual suspects.

  • lamhdearg

    hands up (comment words to the effect) all unionist posters on here who have no problem with torrens knight being released.

  • Little James

    Lillis had a lot to gain from his condition worsening in jail, nobody can dispute that. He has played a blinder. Ford says the charges are still on the books and he may stand trial in the future if his condition improves. Who is he trying to kid? Ford is merely trying to save face as he has shown to be nothing more than a puppet. Lillis will make regular visits to his doctor for his medication whether he needs it or not, like a DLA claimant, only with much higher stakes.

  • sonofstrongbow

    I suspect most hands, no matter what colour, are held down by their owners’ sides (although it does make typing difficult).

    Anyone, I’ll type that again, anyone who breaches their licence should be returned to jail forthwith. For those Irish Republicans amongst us that includes Torrens Knight.

    I wish Lillis a speedy recovery and an equally speedy arraignment before the courts on the (still) outstanding charges. Get well soon Brendan.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Lillis was not released by Ford exercising his powers to do so on compassionate grounds. He was released by the Parole Commission who were exercising their own powers. Ford had indicated over the weeks past that it was their decision.

    Lionel, the problem is that there is a flaw in the system. There should be an automatic provision that if the courts rule that someone is unfit to stand trial, that this is duly accounted for by the Parole Commissioner and/or the DoJ when considering compassionate grounds. Ford also indicated that he would be seeking to review the guidelines etc. for compassionate release. I hope when he does so, those with an interest in the rights of prisoners participate fully in that.

  • iluvni

    Suppose he’ll soon have a claim in too…

  • Clanky

    The right decision, and I would hope the same decision that would be made regardless of which side of the political spectrum a prisoner was on.

    It is a shame that the Unionist politicians decided to make the decision a political one rather than a humanitarian one. I hope when the inevitable similar situation arises with a loyalist prisoner that nationalist / republican politicians will step up to the mark and call for his / her release on the same grounds that they have done for Brendan Lillis, somehow, I doubt it.

  • Johnny Boy

    Politicians shouldn’t be calling for, or against, any prisoners release on medical grounds.

  • vanhelsing


    I have a problem with TK being released and I have a bigger problem with Brendan Lillis being released.

    It’s interference any way you call it. Sonofstrongbow got it about right in an earlier post.

    I actually thought Rangers comment was about right ‘tiger beer – felons’ I quite like it 🙂

  • Jack2

    Many scoundrels have sought refuge using “medical grounds”.

    General Pinochet
    Abdelbaset al-Megrahi – Lockerbie bomber
    Ratko Mladic – Bosian Serb Commander

    And of course closer to home the convicted terrorist Brendan Lillis and our own First Lady Iris Robinson.

    What hope for the common man?

  • ranger1640

    MonkDeWallyDeHonk “Torrens Knight being released after being convicted on a vicious assault while out on licence and having no medical issues as mitigation”.

    “Like I said – double standards from the usual suspects”.

    MonkDeWallyDeHonk,does that criteria you set out above also apply to mass murder Sean Kelly?

    Kelly was returned to prison on 18 June 2005 when his early release was suspended amid allegations that he had been involved in rioting. Sinn Féin claimed he was trying to calm tensions. Peter Hain, Northern Ireland Secretary, said that he had directed the arrest and return to prison of Sean Kelly on the basis of ‘security information’ available to him. He said he was satisfied that Sean Kelly “had become re-involved in terrorism”. He was re-released on 28 July later the same year. The next day the IRA ordered an end to its armed campaign.

  • andnowwhat


    I’m not familiar with the particulars but AS can cause muscle wastage, atrophy to use the proper medical terms via the pressure of deforming cervical vertibrae on the cervical cord. This impedes the normal impulse below the level of incomplete lesion and the lack of stimulation causes, intitialy, weakness an
    d then actual muscle wastage.

    AS can also cause damage to the lamen which protects the delicate cord from the harder vertibrae themselves. This will present as akin to known as cervical spinal stenosis. Symptoms will include, as well as those above, neuropathic pain in the extremities and resulting problems related to the parasympathetic system such as low blood pressure.

    Now, I don’t know if Lillis has reached that stage yet but if he has or hasn’t, as much mobility must be encouraged as possible to slow down a worsening of the condition.

  • Munsterview

    A welcome decision and not a day before time !

  • Carn Monaidh

    Lets take the politics out of this for a moment. This is a person who is willing to put on a balaclava and hold a loaded gun to a small childs head so their mother or father will go to their work and empty a safe to get their loved ones back in one piece. Put yourself in that position for one moment. I have seen the aftermath of this happening to a friend and he and his family will be mentally scarred for the rest of their living days.
    For me it is simple. Die in prison. I felt sorry for his partner when I watched the news, but then I asked myself the question. Did she know what he was doing? Would she have benefited from his ill gotten gains had he not been caught?
    From a political point of view, I voted for the GFA and voted for political prisoners to be freed. Some of them have given a real contribution back to society since their release. Mr Lillis obviously has not and should spend the rest of his life, no matter how ill, in prison. When he decided to be a criminal rather than a former political prisoner, he chose to risk his freedom and should pay the price.
    The BBC news was indeed strange. A SF rep complaining about a tiger kidnapping and a SF rep happy that a tiger kidnapper has been released from prison. Ironic.

  • I cannot understand the bitterness and lack of compassion shown by “unionist” posters on this. Much has been made of the Megrahi case. There is simply no connection. Megrahi either fooled his medical consultants or did make a recovery which isn’t unheard of. Each case has to be decided on its own merits. As some have pointed out, if this man makes a recovery, miraculous or not, he can be put on trial again, as should happen.

  • lamhdearg

    lack of compassion , do you know what a tiger kidnapper will do to get money. next it will be compassion for child murderers, poetic justice. the only way “this man” will be put on trial again is if he recovers enough to commit another crime, and gets caught. “this man” in no way is a ref to someone called brenden.

  • lamhdearg,

    You should know by now that I am no supporter of criminals and think that they should be tried and, if convicted, sent to jail. But if the medical establishment conclude that a person is not fit to stand trial and is not, at present, a danger to society, I am not going to disagree. If he recovers, I would want him to stand trial. If was unkind of you to imply that I would sympathize with child murderers.

  • lamhdearg

    the whats next, was not directed at you personally joe. i am upset at compassion for what i would call nasty bits of work, sick or not. we are talking about tiger kidnappers not shop lifters. sympathy for the devil.

  • lamhdearg

    side note “the medical establishment” i am sure in canada you can also find a quack that will say anything if you look long and hard enough.

  • Turgon

    This episode raises some important questions. If Lillis is ill and cannot be adequately treated in gaol then indeed he should be moved to a hospital. He has already been so: we were told for assessment. If his condition is such that he cannot be improved by the hospital then he could be returned to gaol. However, if his condition is extremely serious and cannot be made better then a compassionate release seems appropriate.

    However, if the patient’s condition can be improved in hospital then he should have that done and then be returned to gaol: that is standard practice for a prisoner. They should not be denied proper treatment but when better the fact that they are a prisoner has not been wiped away by their illness or hospital admission.

    A matter of days ago we were told that the medical evidence obtained by Ford was that Lillis’s case could be manged in gaol. The only medical person who claimed Lillis was dying seemed to be a psychiatrist who seems less than fully qualified to make that decision.

    If on admission to the City it has been found that Lillis is much worse than he was at first suspected to be and release from custody was appropriate then the public should be informed. They were when the Lockerbie bomber was released. Furthermore if Lillis’s condition was so much worse than had been suspected then Ford needs to look seriously at the prison medical service: how could they get it so wrong over a matter of days?

    Alternatively if there is no substantial new medical evidence then it needs to be explained that Lillis has been released contrary to the medical evidence.

    In this case either Lillis has been released in the face of medical evidence to the contrary and Ford as justice needs to explain why even if he did not take the decision. Alternatively there is a major problem with the ability of the prison medical service to asses prisoners and Ford needs to tell us what measures he is going to take to rectify that unacceptable state of affairs.

  • Good post, Turgon. I can’t find anything to disagree with (not that I would instinctively do that). I know nothing about this man nor his physical condition. But I would not deny compassion where appropriate.

  • Turgon

    Thanks. I suspect where we might disagree is that I suspect that Lillis has an unpleasant, chronic but non fatal condition which has been played up by his family to try to help get him released. It is also more than possible that Lillis has been less than cooperative with treatment in gaol to try to maximise his chances of release. I further suspect that Ford was told by doctors that this man was not dying of his arthritic condition and it could be managed in hospital: that certainly seems to have been the case a scant few days ago. Now it looks very likely that Ford has been lent on by others and has ensured that another body – in this case the parole board releases Lillis.

    If the above which is pure supposition is true: then that casts Ford in a very bad light and demonstrates pathetic weakness on his part; though I note I predicted he would do this a week or two ago.

    If the above is untrue Ford needs to explain what the evidence was and how it changed meaning that Lillis had to be released.

    If the last, then Ford needs to announce a look at the prison medical service as it is clearly failing prisoners and therefore society as prisoners are entitled to teh same health care as non prisoners: that is a pretty basic tenant of a civilised society.

  • Cynic2

    This is one to watch for a Lazarus like change.

    By the way, this is the second anniversary of the release of ‘he’ll be dead in 3 months” Abdel Baset al-Megrahi. Have the dissers struck oil in the bogs of Tyrone?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Of course this whole episode has been a propaganda effort mounted by dissident republicans. Something definitely does not fit; we’re told that Lillis has been bed-ridden for two years, which means that a man was apparently able to get involved in kidnapping and extortion (these allegations still haven’t been denied), but yet his arrest and imprisonment coincided with some sort of rapid and sudden deterioration in his health which occurred at the moment he stepped across the threshold of the prison gates. That’s a hell of a coincidence.

    Nonetheless, I don’t see that we can or should get into a situation where politicians can set themselves up to second-guess the medical opinions which are put forward. It’s right that a second or third opinion should be sought whenever there are controversial circumstances. But if we start overruling that, we end up going down the road in the USA where decisions about prisoners become subordinate to political concerns. In that light I find it deeply ironic that so many Americans have come on board with the “free Lillis” campaign, while back in their own country prisoners on death row have their executions expedited by politicians seeking re-election in order to secure a few additional votes.


    It’s a very serious thing to accuse the minister of interfering in the decisions of the parole commission, in the absence of any evidence or even a credible motive.

    It is fairly clear that there was a change in the medical advice a week or so back that led to Lillis being transferred to hospital. Whatever this advice was may have prompted the commissioners to review the case.

    As for the question of whether he should be in jail or not, there is clearly a problem given that the courts took the view that the man was not fit to stand trial, but yet did not qualify for compassionate release. There is obviously an inconsistency in the approach taken by the courts and the department, and that is something that needs to be corrected.

    But at the end of the day keeping a criminal in prison in a fashion which is judged to seriously damage their health and/or life expectancy amounts to cruelty and, on some level, torture. We can’t become a place like that.

  • michael-mcivor

    comrade stalin- people can be as fit as a fiddle one day yet at deaths door the next- its the human way-

    Those americans you talk about who support Brendan Lillis
    are also likely to oppose the death penalty in their own country- abortion is legal in england- yet a lot of english people oppose their law-

  • ranger1640

    Here is what the republicans on here are so proud of. An Ireland of equals were even criminal gangs and kidnappers are heroes.

    Get well son Brendan, there’s a wee room reserved for you at Maghaberry.

    The boyfriend of a woman who was the intended target of a tiger kidnapping last Friday has appeared at Londonderry Magistrates Court charged in connection with the incident.
    He was one of five men accused of attempting to kidnap and rob a family of three near Magherafelt.

    Police claim that the five men are all members of a criminal gang.

    The defendants were Brendan Lillis, 58, and Terrance Lunney, 26, both from Belfast, Richard Mason, 32, and Colm James Meli, 27, from Annalong, Co Down, and Rory Brady Larkin, 24, from Magherafelt.

    A detective told the court that the men were arrested after an intelligence led operation by police foiled an attempted tiger kidnapping in the early hours of last Friday morning.

    The intended victims are three members of the same family who all work in financial institutions.

    Some of the accused had been observed by police leaving west Belfast in two cars last Thursday night.

    By 1am on Friday morning, three of the men were arrested behind the family’s home on the Aughrim Road near Magherafelt.

    Two warning shots were fired by police during the arrest.

    Two firearms, balaclavas, gloves, cable ties and a hold-all were recovered.

    The court was also told that for two years Larkin has been the boyfriend of the intended victim’s daughter.

    The investigating officer said he believes Larkin played a central role in the plot by providing the gang with information on the family’s movements.

    He also revealed that forensic examination of Larkin’s phone showed that he had sent a text message to Richard Mason which read: “In the house now. I’ll text when they are in bed.”

    However, during police interviews Larkin claimed that he had been acting under duress.

    The family has had to temporarily move from their home because of fears for their safety.

    Bail was refused for Lillis, Lunney and Larkin on the basis that they might interfere with witnesses.

    Mason and Meli intend to apply for bail at a later date.

    All five men were remanded in custody.

  • Comrade Stalin

    comrade stalin- people can be as fit as a fiddle one day yet at deaths door the next- its the human way-

    It’s not impossible, but it’s certainly improbable. My suggestion is that SF and the other campaigners are just exaggerating. The illness likely got progressively worse over a period of time, not the instant the guy arrived in jail.

    Those americans you talk about who support Brendan Lillis
    are also likely to oppose the death penalty in their own country

    How can you know that ?

    – abortion is legal in england- yet a lot of english people oppose their law-

    Yeah but do the people who feel strongly about it divert their time to campaigning for changes in abortion policy abroad ? Don’t think so.

  • I”ll repeat what I said earlier. If Lillis makes a recovery, he will be sent to trial, quite properly, and if he is convicted, he will go back to jail. A subsequent medical relapse would be grounds for well justified suspicion and he would be unlikely to get away with the same story a second time.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I doubt that Lillis will make a recovery, the condition is treatable but, as far as I know, incurable. However, all the stuff about the guy being on his death bed and being on the cusp of death due to ill-treatment in prison is almost certainly far wide of the mark.

  • Yes, Comrade. We have been subjected to an incredible amount of propaganda and it’s impossible to know the “truth”.

  • ranger1640

    To be a 5 stone emaciation republican, at near deaths door Lillis looks amazingly well. No clasped jaws, no withering limbs looks more like Philip Morris I love you every day.

    Get well soon Brendan.

  • Tell us about your medical degree, ranger. Your hatred seems to have no bounds. It isn’t good for you; try to think about something positive to obsess about. It’ll feel good.

  • ranger1640

    Do I need a degree now Joe to make an observation??? I’m sure you will agree with me Joe, that that photo of Lillis does not look like a 5 stone man.

    That photo is in contrast to the one on republican sites that show Lillis more emaciate. But why let the truth get in the way of an emaciated photo.

    My hatred, and obsession, I hope you can substantiate that Joe??? Just because you don’t like what I have to say, doesn’t mean I can’t say it.

    You would be better playing the ball rather than the man!!!

    The day I need your, or anyone else’s permission to make an observation on this site will be the day I leave.

    You have a good day Joe, I know I will.

  • You would be better playing the ball rather than the man!!!

    Oh, the irony. Motes, beams and eyes come to mind. LOL. Too many exclamation remarks???????????????????

  • ranger1640

    See Joe, seem to be more fixated on playing the man than rather answering the points. Point made!!! Nuff said me think!!!

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Ernest Saunders was the best one – the only person ever to fully recover from (criminal-justice-system-induced) Alzheimer’s Disease.