Belfast Telegraph

Alleged IRA bomber loses latest battle to halt extradition to Northern Ireland

Challenge: John Downey
Challenge: John Downey

By Ruaidhrí Giblin

An alleged IRA bomber given a so-called 'comfort letter' by Tony Blair's government has lost his latest challenge aimed at preventing his extradition to Northern Ireland for a Co Fermanagh bombing.

Authorities in NI are seeking to extradite John Downey (67) to face prosecution for the murder of two soldiers, as well as aiding and abetting the causing of an explosion on August 25, 1972.

UDR soldiers Lance Corporal Alfred Johnston and Private James Eames were killed when a device exploded in a vehicle they were checking in Cherrymount in Enniskillen.

Mr Downey was arrested last November at his home in Creeslough, Co Donegal, on a European Arrest Warrant.

The High Court in Dublin ordered Mr Downey's extradition in March, and the Court of Appeal upheld that decision yesterday. Mr Downey's lawyers indicated that an appeal to the Supreme Court will be made.

Mr Justice Peart said the prosecution of Mr Downey for the 1982 Hyde Park bombing, in which four soldiers and seven horses were killed, collapsed in February 2014 on the basis that it amounted to an abuse of process.

Crucial to that finding in London was a "letter of comfort" from 2007 provided to Mr Downey and other "on-the-runs".

Mr Justice Peart said the letter, and the finding of an abuse of process in London, was "at the heart" of Mr Downey's case against extradition. However, for the High Court to refuse surrender on the basis of an abuse of process, Mr Justice Peart said the abuse must exist in the processes of the High Court in the Republic.

Belfast Telegraph

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