CONVICTED murderer Catherine Nevin has begun proceedings to get the DPP or Garda commissioner to disclose whether the three men who gave evidence at her trial were state informers.
The application is part of Nevin’s bid to have her conviction in April 2000 for the murder of her husband, Tom, at their pub, Jack White’s Inn, Brittas Bay, on March 19, 1996, declared a miscarriage of justice.
Nevin claims that material not given to her lawyers at the time of her trial contains information casting doubt on the credibility and motivation of key prosecution witnesses in the case.
Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman heard Nevin’s legal team is seeking an order requiring the DPP to answer the question whether three witnesses at her trial, William McClean, Gerard Heapes and John Jones, were ever State informers, or if Mr McClean had paramilitary connections.
Nevin’s solicitor Anne Fitzgibbon said she is also seeking an order, pursuant to Section 3 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1993, directing the Garda commissioner to carry out an investigation to establish whether the three men were ever informers and if Mr McClean had paramilitary connections.
In an affidavit, Ms Fitzgibbon said that new information has been uncovered that the three were informers at the time of Nevin’s trial.
She said that in 2000, Nevin’s then lawyers were informed in a letter from the chief state solicitor that “no arrangement, agreement or understanding had been entered into between the gardaí, the DPP and the attorney general” and any witnesses or persons contacted during the investigation of the death of Tom Nevin.
She added that she had asked the chief prosecution solicitor to confirm if they were informers, but has not received a response. However, the gardaí had said in response it was the force’s “practice neither to confirm or deny if a person is an informant”.
Ms Fitzgibbon also told the court that a witness has come forward whose evidence supports Nevin’s allegation that her husband was killed by individuals connected to paramilitaries in a row over drugs.
Nevin is also seeking an order that the DPP disclose material and documents which she claims is relevant to her claim of a miscarriage of justice.
It is contended that the documents being sought, including material on the Dublin Monaghan bombing and Garda security files on the three men, are relevant and will assist her in undermining the three men’s credibility.
Nevin also claims the documents may undermine the credibility of another State witness at her trial, Patrick Russell.
The DPP is opposed to handing over the material and contends the issues were considered at Nevin’s trial at the Central Criminal Court and during her appeal in 2003.
Mr Justice Hardiman adjourned the case to a date in mid-November.
In 2000, Nevin was also convicted on three counts of soliciting three different men to kill her husband in 1989 and 1990, six years before his murder.
She is serving a life sentence on the murder charge and a concurrent seven-year term on the soliciting charges.