Northern Ireland

Michael McKevitt judgement reserved pending separate hearing

Real IRA leader Michael McKevitt Image copyright PA
Image caption Real IRA leader Michael McKevitt was convicted of directing terrorism

A decision on whether a Real IRA leader should be released from prison has been delayed until a separate court case is heard.

Michael McKevitt, 59, is seeking early release over his conviction for directing terrorism.

McKevitt from Beech Park, Blackrock in County Louth, was convicted in 2003 and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

His sentence was backdated to 2001. He was the first person in the Republic of Ireland jailed for directing terrorism.

Mr Justice Bernard Barton was due to give his ruling on an application for remission at the High Court in Dublin on Wednesday afternoon.

However, he told the court he was reserving his judgment until after the Supreme Court has dealt with an appeal about another prisoner who was let out of jail early under good behaviour rules.

The Supreme Court will hear that matter on Friday.

McKevitt's case has been put back until next Monday.

McKevitt's lawyers claim he is entitled to an enhanced one-third remission of his 20-year sentence instead of the usual 25%.

The state opposes that application.

In a landmark civil case in 2009, the High Court in Belfast ruled McKevitt and three other men were responsible for the 1998 Omagh bomb that killed 29 people and unborn twins.

The other three men were Liam Campbell, Colm Murphy and Seamus Daly.

McKevitt did not face criminal charges in relation to the Omagh bombing.

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