Irish Republican News · December 12, 2005
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
McKevitt appeal rejected

Dissident republican Michael McKevitt has lost his appeal against his 20-year-sentence in the ‘FBI supergrass’ case.

The three judges of the Court of Criminal Appeal said that the Special Criminal Court was entitled to conclude that the sole prosecution witness in the case - FBI agent David Rupert - was a credible witness and to accept his evidence.

The court heard during the appeal that Rupert, who had been in serious financial difficulties, had been paid $1.4m by the FBI and Stg#400,000 by the British Crown forces for his testimony.

McKevitt, who was in court for the decision, smiled at his wife Bernadette Sands McKevitt and her sister Marcella Sands - both sisters of dead IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands - as he was brought in to the courtroom.

The four-day appeal last month centred on issues concerning the reliability of double agent David Rupert, who infiltrated the Real IRA and attended Real IRA Army Council meetings where McKevitt was present.

McKevitt’s lawyers appealed against conviction on the grounds that there was not full and proper disclosure of all material relating to Rupert and that the Special Criminal Court should not have found that he was a credible witness whose evidence could be safely relied upon.

In its 64-page judgment, the Court of Criminal Appeal, presided over by Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, said that the Special Criminal Court had in its approach to the history of David Rupert’s past life, conducted “a careful and balanced assessment of the evidence.

“The court is quite satisfied there are no grounds for any suggestion that David Rupert was either a ‘supergrass’ or ‘accomplice’ in the criminal allegations levelled against Mc Kevitt.”

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