High Court adjourns second release bid by Garda killer

A second bid by Garda killer Michael McHugh to gain immediate release from prison was sought in the High Court yesterday and adjourned to the middle of August.

McHugh’s death sentence for the murder of Sgt Patrick Morrissey was commuted to 40 years imprisonment just a week before the noose was to have been put over his head.

McHugh shot dead Sgt Morrissey following an armed robbery in 1985, and was initially sentenced to death in December that year. He has served his sentence at Portlaoise Prison.

An earlier application seeking release is currently being heard by Mr Justice Paul McDermott. Yesterday, before Ms Justice Carmel Stewart, McHugh’s legal team said he was seeking to quash a decision of the minister for justice.

Counsel said that in July last, the minister refused McHugh’s application to be included in a pre-release programme and also refused an application for early release.

In the earlier application, McHugh claimed that when the 25% remission generally granted to prisoners is taken into account, he is due for release in December.

McHugh, who is suing the minister for justice and the Irish Prison Service, had claimed he is not being given credit for five months he spent in custody between July 3 and December 3, 1985.

The application is being opposed by the State on grounds including McHugh does not have an automatic entitlement to be given credit for the five months in question because he had initially been sentenced to death.

Judge Stewart directed the State be put on notice of the new application for judicial review, which was made ex-parte. She adjourned the matter to later this month.


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