Thursday, October 28, 2010

Martin Galvin Interview: What It Means For Gerry McGeough If Pronounced Guilty

September 22, 2010

There is a great deal of speculation and assumptions floating around out there in cyber space regarding what type of sentence Gerry McGeough is facing. I asked Martin Galvin, a prominent New York attorney helping out on Gerry's case, to explain what the possibility is if pronounced guilty.

Martin explained that "Under the terms of the deal, if pronounced guilty, Gerry McGeough would first be sentenced to a lengthy jail term. While he would be eligible for early release, after 2 years, (even for someone like Gerry who endured a notorious German prison and 3 years in a federal penitentiary) this is not a minor thing for a man in his 50s with a bad heart serving time in the conditions at Maghaberry with young children.

Martin went on to to say that "The problem with this type of sentence is the fact it is "a release on license or parole", which can be revoked at any time for little or no reason other than the constabulary claims to have intelligence information that you are associating with people they dislike. (eg Terry McCafferty). McCafferty was jailed a few weeks after his release. It was claimed there was intelligence information that he was associating with dissident Republicans. After 15 months it was admitted that there had been no intelligence information against him. This could mean a quick return to Maghaberry prison under the original sentence".

For those of you not familiar with the Terry McCafferty case, the following was taken from the Irish News, Monday, March 29, 2010: The Irish News reported "Alleged Real IRA leader” Terry McCafferty was released from Maghaberry Prison after the Sentence Review Commissions ruled his detention illegal on the basis that the case against him was unreliable. McCafferty had been released on licence in November 2008, half-way through a 12-year sentence for possession of explosives, but, as noted at the time, in December 2008 the Secretary of State revoked his parole licence and he was re-arrested at Belfast International Airport. Since then there has been a legal battle over the case, which included a December 2009 Court of Appeal ruling rejecting a legal challenge to the decision to revoke McCafferty’s licence. As part of that legal battle the attorney general appointed a special advocate to represent McCafferty at hearings which he was not allowed to attend because of sensitive intelligence material presented to the commission by security agencies. The case took a dramatic turn earlier this month when the special advocate announced he was withdrawing from the case, claiming he was not being allowed to properly represent the alleged dissident. However, McCafferty’s lawyer Paul Pierce was last night informed that the sentence review commission had recommended the prisoner’s immediate release. Welcoming the move, Mr. Pierce said: “My client has been held in prison without any valid evidence for the last 15 months. “He will be considering a civil action against the secretary of state for this illegal detention.”

I hope the above information helps people to have a better understanding of exactly how serious are the consequences facing Gerry at this time. I cannot impress enough upon republicans that if Gerry is convicted, not only will it serve to prove the British government did not hold up their end of the Good Friday Agreement, but it will now set a precedent, going forward, that all republicans will now be in jeopardy if the RUC/PSNI decide you are next.

Helen McClafferty

For more legal information on Gerry's case, you can download and listen to Martin Galvin on WBAI's Radio Free Eireann on Saturday, September 18, 2010 show

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