Minister for Justice and Equality v Francis Lanigan

JudgeMs. Justice Murphy
Judgment Date17 November 2014
Neutral Citation[2014] IEHC 702
CourtHigh Court
Date17 November 2014

[2014] IEHC 702


[No. 1 EXT./2013]
Min for Justice v Lanigan





Preliminary Ruling of Ms. Justice Murphy delivered the 17th day of November 2014


1. This is a preliminary ruling arising from various procedural and evidential issues which arose in the course of the section 16 hearing which took place over three days in July 2014.


2. The respondent is the subject of a European Arrest Warrant issued by the UK (Northern Ireland) authorities on the 17 th December, 2012. The European Arrest Warrant was endorsed by the High Court on the 7 th January, 2013, and the respondent was arrested on the 16 th January, 2013. The respondent does not consent to his surrender to the United Kingdom authorities and the court is being asked by the applicant to order the surrender of the respondent and the applicant contends that all relevant and necessary conditions for an order under s. 16 of the 2003 Act are satisfied. Further it is contended by the applicant that there is no basis to refuse a surrender of the respondent either on the basis of the points of objection filed or at all. The primary ground of objection raised on behalf of the respondent is that his life would be endangered by the surrender sought. It was argued on behalf of the respondent that the proceedings before the court are adversarial; that the Court is obliged to determine the issue on the pleadings before it; that the uncontroverted evidence is that the life of the respondent would be endangered; that there is no admissible evidence to the contrary and accordingly the Court is obliged to refuse the surrender sought.


The European Arrest Warrant in this case was issued on the 17 th December, 2012, by John Meehan District Judge, it is a prosecution warrant. The offences in respect of which the respondent's surrender is sought is one offence of murder and one offence of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life. Both alleged offences carry a maximum penalty of imprisonment for life. In relation to the alleged offence of murder, the issuing judicial authority has ticked the box of murder, grievous bodily injury; in the list of offences set out at part E1 of the warrant. The second alleged offence is not a "tick box" offence and accordingly correspondence must be shown in accordance with s. 5 of the European Arrest Warrant Act 2003, as amended. The European Arrest Warrant was endorsed by the High Court on the 7 th January, 2013, (MacEochaidh J.) and the respondent was arrested by Garda Sean Fallon on the 16 th January, 2013 at Whitehall Road, Dublin 12 and he was brought before the High Court on the same day. He has been remanded in custody since that date. Points of objection were initially filed on the 26 th November, 2013, by Padraig O'Donovan and Company, solicitors for the respondent. Eleven grounds of objection to the respondent's surrender are set out therein. The only ones of significance to this ruling are those which relate to the risk to the Respondent's life. This is set out in ground 1 with references to the risk being particularised in other grounds. Ground 1 states:


2 "1. The surrender of the respondent on the two matters, the subject of the European Arrest Warrant herein that issued under the hand of District Judge John Meehan of the Magistrates Court in Dungannon in the County of Tyrone on the 17 th December, 2012, and as endorsed by this Honourable Court on the 7 th January, 2013, should not be ordered as the surrender of the respondent would pose and unacceptable risk to the life and health of the respondent;


3. A grounding affidavit in support of his objection was sworn by the respondent on the 16 th December, 2013. At para. 2 of the affidavit he verifies the points of objection insofar as they relate to his own acts and deeds and states that he believes the truth of the remaining allegations contained therein. The portion of the affidavit relevant to this ruling is as follows:

"I was born in Belfast on the 5 th March, 1964. I joined Na Fianna at 16 years of age, at 17 I joined the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) and at or about 19 I joined the younger National Liberation Army (INLA). During my teens and arising from my political outlook I came into regular contact with her majesty's security services."


In March 1984, I was arrested and taken to Castlereagh interrogation centre. Over six days there I was repeatedly tortured. Whenever I complained to my solicitor about my treatment and he raised the issue with the police, I got beaten even more. In 1990 I received £15,000 sterling as damages for my torture.


In 1984, I was convicted of being part of an INLA active service unit (ASU) was sentenced to ten years imprisonment and was detained in the Republican H Block. On being released in 1990 I rejoined the INLA.


By 1991, my then friend Gino Gallagher was released from prison and we both became significant members of the INLA. I was then living in Lenadan Estate in West Belfast. The RUC advised me that my personal details were in the hands of Loyalists and changed my daily lifestyle ie. changed the times I routinely went to places. At that time attacks by loyalists were on the increase; the Johnny Adair (C) Company UFF was very active and personal acquaintances of mine, men and women were being murdered even though they were not in any way politically or otherwise connected.


Around then, the INLA began targeting RUC, UDR, British army and also the loyalist terror members with whom UK state agents had aligned and were cooperating. This was a crazy time in Belfast. Nobody knew who would be killed next. At this time I was working part time in Pat's Barbers, Lower Falls. I also worked part time at the Donegal Celtic nightclub. On the 7 th September, 1993, Adair's UFF group tried to murder me. Their main gunman (McKeag) who is now deceased, entered what he thought was my place of work and there he shot the barber several times killing him.


Things continued at a frenetic pace for months and there were a lot of INLA attacks on British forces and loyalists and vice versa. I was starting to burn out from the pace of things. I wore body armour every day and I could not live a normal life. Most of my friends who were active INLA members were reluctant to do operations without me, asking "will Frank be there?" I believe it is because of my increased stature in that community that my relationship with Gino Gallagher began to disimprove. I believe it was thought that I was getting "too big for my boots". I faced an INLA court martial and as a result I was shot in the leg. However, the punishment was carried out by my friend Mark McNeill and I actually helped him and I just received a slight wound.


I then started to relax and began socialising more. I still stayed in touch with my INLA mates and I also had IRA friends. But on the 1 st December, 1995, the INLA tried to kill me at my mother's home. Two gunmen entered the house and shot me in the head and arm. I was taken to the Royal Hospital in Belfast. My friend Sal Devine came to visit me in the hospital, but the next day he was shot dead by D.A.A.D. the IRA cover name, Direct Action Against Drugs. I was released from hospital thinking I would be the next to be shot.


By then on the INLA feud was intensifying after on (sic).


In January 1996, Gino Gallagher was shot dead and the RUC immediately arrived at my door. Gino and I had been sending messages to each other via the RUC: he was going to kill me and I was going to kill him. The INLA Belfast brigade tried to kill anyone involved in the feud who was a member or even and associate of members of INLA GHQ with which I was associated. In January 1996, in an attack on Kevin McAlorum's home the INLA fired shots in through the window killing Kevin's little sister. John Fennell was killed in Donegal in March 1996, Dessie McCleary was shot in Belfast in May 1996 and in September 1996, Hugh Torney was shot dead in Lurgan.


In 1997, the INLA was able to get guns in the Maze prison and "Crip" McWilliams shot and killed the loyalist LVS boss, Billy Wright. I believe that raises (sic) credible concerns about the security systems that allowed that to happen given the previous incident involving McWilliams and guns in Maghaberry prison some months earlier. In such circumstances there must be serious concerns for my safety if surrendered to Northern Ireland.


I knew that the INLA and also loyalist gangs were targeting me. In February 1998, Brendan Campbell was killed outside a Lisburn Road restaurant. I believe the IRA operating under the title DAAD were responsible and I believe were thrown out of the peace process on a temporary basis. In April 1998, the RUC contacted my solicitor, Deery McGuinness & Co. to inform that I was to be murdered in a hotel by loyalist elements. That was followed up with a formal written warning and a copy of that warning is exhibited. It says:


'Dear Sir, your client Francis Lanigan, I am aware that you are acting on behalf of Francis Lanigan of 31 Knockmore Square, Lisburn. Your letter of the 17 th February, 1998, Reference number ADMKCRMLFOOl/25 refers.'


Note this letter is not exhibited. The letter from the Royal Ulster Constabulary proceeds:


'Police have received information concerning Mr. Lanigan's safety and have been endeavouring without success to pass on the information to him.' Information in police possession suggests loyalist elements intend to murder Studs Lanigan. Attack to take place at the Beach Lawn Hotel as it is believed he frequents that location.


The need to contact Mr. Lanigan quickly is obvious and any assistance you can...

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