Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Gerry McGeough legal battle: Former IRA gunner's bid to overturn conviction for attempted murder of soldier

Admissions made in Sweden of attempt to kill Samuel Brush were 'wrongly used at trial', claim lawyers

Gerry McGeough
Gerry McGeough was jailed for trying to kill part-time soldier Samuel Brush 32 years ago

A former IRA gunner is to seek to go before the UK's highest court in a new bid to overturn his conviction for trying to kill a part-time soldier.

Gerry McGeough will argue that admissions he made when seeking political asylum in Sweden were wrongly used at his trial for attempting to murder Samuel Brush.

Senior judges in Belfast today refused his application for leave to bring a challenge to the Supreme Court in London.

They did, however, indicate their intention to certify a question raising a potential point of law of general public importance.

Their decision allows McGeough's legal team the chance to bring a direct petition in a bid to have their case heard by the law lords.

Sitting in the Court of Appeal, Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan said: "This is potentially an interesting point. They may well decide it's a point they should examine."

Lawyers for McGeough are asking whether it was wrong for admissions he made in Sweden to feature in his subsequent prosecution.

The 54-year-old, from Dungannon, Co Tyrone, was convicted in 2011 of attempting to murder Mr Brush 32 years ago.

McGeough was also found guilty of possessing firearms with intent to commit an indictable offence, and IRA membership.

He was jailed for 20 years but released earlier this year under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

Mr Brush, now a Democratic Unionist councillor, was working as a postman when he was shot and seriously wounded near Aughnacloy, Co Tyrone in June 1981.

McGeough has already failed in a separate legal bid to have his conviction quashed.

While in prison he also unsuccessfully attempted to be freed early under the Royal Prerogative of Mercy.

Following the latest stage in McGeough's ongoing legal battle, his solicitor confirmed the Supreme Court will be asked to look into the case.

Paul Pierce of KRW Law said: "Mr McGeough's asylum application was disclosed by the Swedish authorities to the British authorities and was then relied upon in the course of his criminal trial.

"It raises a number of very significant issues about individuals who may seek asylum, only later to find that the basis of that application is disclosed to the relevant state authorities from whom they have fled."

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