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John Knocker murder suspect Lanigan challenges extradition to Northern Ireland

By Tim Healy

Published 15/03/2016

A suspect in a murder in Northern Ireland has brought a challenge to his extradition to the High Court in Dublin
A suspect in a murder in Northern Ireland has brought a challenge to his extradition to the High Court in Dublin

A suspect in a murder in Northern Ireland has brought a challenge to his extradition to the High Court in Dublin.

Francis Lanigan's extradition was ordered by the same court last September after he had opposed it on the basis that he faced a risk to his life from paramilitaries if he was handed over to face prosecution.

Mr Lanigan (49), with an address at Mulhuddart, Dublin, was arrested in January 2013, under an extradition warrant in connection with the murder of John Knocker.

Mr Knocker was shot dead in a hotel car park in Dungannon, Co Tyrone, on May 31, 1998. He was gunned down at the Exit 15 nightclub after travelling from west Belfast to pick up his girlfriend.

Mr Lanigan brought separate judicial review proceedings challenging the constitutionality of the 2003 extradition legislation because, he claimed, his right to life would be in jeopardy if he was extradited.

The Minister for Justice and the State, who have been waiting to hand him over to the UK authorities, then asked the High Court to dismiss his latest case claiming it was a "collateral attack" on the extradition order as well as an abuse of process. Mr Lanigan claims his life is in danger if sent to Northern Ireland, because of an INLA feud as well as threats from both the IRA and loyalists.

The former INLA man was previously jailed for 10 years for conspiracy to murder police officers.

At a previous extradition hearing, a court heard that he had been living under the assumed name of Kieran McCrory for a number of years before being arrested.

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