Irish Republican News · April 9, 2016
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Legal trickery in effort to jail republicans


After almost five years in solitary confinement, republican political prisoner Gavin Coyle has been freed on bail, despite a last-minute drama when two weeks were mysteriously added onto his sentence over an alleged non-payment of a fine.

The Tyrone man had been due for release on Wednesday but his lawyers had been “given the runaround from the courts and the jail”, according to supporters, before being finally freed 48 hours later. He remains on bail on other charges issued against him in the course of his controversial detention.

Mr Coyle had been held in the punishment block of Maghaberry jail for five years, despite the average stay there being three weeks, in conditions where he was locked up for 22 hours a day. The British government claimed he had been under threat on the Republican landings, a claim strongly denied and thought to have been a strategy to make him susceptible to approaches by British military intelligence.

A campaign on his behalf saw republican prisoners at the jail carry out a 48 hour fast in solidarity, and recently saw increased political support outside the jail, including a vote by Newry, Mourne and Down Council in support of the isolated prisoner.

The Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association (IRPWA) said this week that Mr Coyle and his lawyer knew nothing about any supposed fine or additional sentence.

“The IRPWA overwhelmingly agreed that considering everything and the fact that Gavin had been held in the most horrendous of conditions on the CSU [‘Care and Supervision Unit’] for almost 5 years that we would pay the fine and get Gavin out of that hellhole as soon as possible.

“An IRPWA member went down to the jail on Wednesday to pay the fine to ensure Gavin was released that day, only to be told that it would not be possible to pay the fine as it was deferred to a sentence and there was no way of changing it.

“Since then Gavin’s solicitors have been working non stop to get this resolved and have stated to IRPWA that this situation is off the scale in terms of anything they have ever witnessed before so have been left with no choice but to take an emergency JR [Judicial Review] and let a judge decide if Gavin can be released upon payment of the fine.”

Mr Coyle was finally released on Friday afternoon. In a Facebook post, the IRPWA welcomed him home. “We are so delighted for him and his family,” they said. “It has been a long, hard road but he got there in the end.”


Meanwhile, it has emerged that the internment of Derry republican Tony Taylor, who was jailed in Maghaberry last month on foot of an order by British Direct Ruler Theresa Villiers, was carried out in an illegal manner.

The British government said the decision at the time was based on the “risk to the public”. It has now emerged that the first three weeks of his detention were unlawful, even under British law, due to an incorrect procedure in revoking his prison ‘release licence’.

His lawyer, Aiden Carlin, said that the Probation Board had not been consulted about the Derry man’s conduct, a necessary step in any move to order a former prisoner returned to Maghaberry.

“Instead the Parole Commissioners recommended his licence be revoked on the basis of alleged MI5 surveillance rather than the ample supervision evidence available which confirms Tony Taylor’s membership of Republican Network for Unity (RNU) is lawful and peaceful,” he said.

“There is simply no objective evidence that Tony Taylor has breached the conditions of his licence. Hence, no new charges which could have led to a fair trial and the proper testing of evidence by the defence in court.

“Tony Taylor’s recall should be a matter of concern for all those with an interest in human rights”, added Mr Carlin, who is pursuing a Judicial Review of his imprisonment.

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© 2016 Irish Republican News