McGeough’s royal pardon bid delayed

Gerry McGeough INTT0711-139JS
Gerry McGeough INTT0711-139JS

SUPPORTERS of a former IRA man jailed for trying to kill a UDR soldier have expressed dismay that his appeal for a royal pardon has been adjourned until December 16.

The hearing of Gerry McGeough’s judicial review opened on Thursday, but was adjourned after the judge, Mr Justice Treacy, ruled that the victim, DUP Councillor Samuel Brush should be legally informed of the application.

He directed that Mr Brush should be put on notice of Gerry McGeough’s legal bid to obtain a Royal Prerogative of Mercy. The court should establish if Mr Brush wants to be represented in the case.

McGeough (53) from Brantry, was sentenced to 20 years in prison earlier this year for shooting Mr Brush in June 1981. McGeough was convicted of attempted murder, possession of a firearm and ammunition and IRA membership.

Under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement he is expected to serve only two years of his sentence. His lawyers argue that he should be granted the special mercy warrant to ensure equal treatment with other convicted terrorists who benefited from it. During the full hearing of the case, Mr Justice Treacy was told Mr Brush has not been put on notice of the proceedings.

The case has been adjourned until December 16.

Supporters of Mr McGeough have said that it is now unlikely he will be freed before Christmas. They claim that a decision will be made by mid-January at the earliest.

They called on the authorities to release Mr McGeough and enact legislation to prevent future legal challenges to royal pardons.