11 November 2005

McKevitt appeal told trial was fair

Irish Independent

THE organisation led by convicted Real IRA leader Michael McKevitt was responsible for "murder and mayhem on this island", a court heard yesterday.

State counsel George Birmingham, on the third day of McKevitt's appeal against conviction for directing terrorism, said that the State was obliged to bring the individual who led that organisation to trial.

McKevitt (54), of Beech Park, Blackrock, Co Louth was jailed for 20 years by the Special Criminal Court in August 2003 after he was convicted of directing the activities of a terrorist organisation.

McKevitt was in court for the appeal hearing, which was also attended by his wife Bernadette Sands McKevitt.

He said the DPP had gone to elaborate lengths to ensure that Mc Kevitt was given a fair trial.

Mr Birmingham said that this even involved making officers of the British Security Service available for interview by lawyers retained by McKevitt.

McKevitt's lawyers have appealed against conviction on the grounds that there was not full and proper disclosure of all material and that the Special Criminal Court erred in law.

The appeal is continuing.

Ann O'Loughlin

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