The Supreme Court has upheld the High Court’s decision to refuse to extradite a Dublin man wanted in the UK on robbery charges.
In April 2006 Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne refused to extradite Martin Kerrigan (aged 46) of Foxdene Drive, Lucan, Co Dublin after finding the application was an attempt to force his brother to plead guilty to murdering Irish woman Catherine Corridan in London 14 years ago.
Ms Justice Dunne said it was clear that London Police Officers pressurised Samuel Kerrigan to believe his brother Martin would be tried on a robbery charge if he did not "cooperate" with the murder probe.
The Attorney General appealed Ms Justice Dunne's decision on the grounds that the Judge had erred by refusing the extradition request.
Earlier this week the Supreme Court of the Chief Justice Mr Justice John Murray sitting with Ms Justice Fidelma Macken and Mr Justice Hugh Geoghegan dismissed the AG's appeal. The Court said that it would give its written reasons at a later date.
London police were seeking Martin Kerrigan’s surrender claiming that on August 9, 1993 he along with his brother Samuel robbed a bank in Middlesex, England.
Martin’s brother Samuel Kerrigan was convicted of the 1993 robbery and firearms offences in 1997 and was sentenced to 12 years in prison, but never named his accomplice.
The court heard that following a review of the case in 2002 London Police deemed Samuel Kerrigan as the chief suspect in the murder of 31-year-old Kerrywoman Catherine Corridan in 1994.
In 2005 Samuel Kerrigan (aged 38) was convicted of her murder, and received a life sentence.
As part of their investigation into the murder London police obtained a photo of Martin Kerrigan taken in the early 1990’s.
It was claimed that a comparative analysis of a picture taken of the 1993 robbery concluded that he was the second man in the robbery, and a warrant for his extradition was issued in 2003.
In her judgment Ms Justice Dunne agreed with Martin Kerrigan’s counsel Martin Giblin SC that the purpose of the extradition request appeared to be an attempt to strike fear into both Kerrigan brothers to facilitate a prosecution in the murder case.
The Judge also found that there was "an improper purpose in initiating the extradition proceedings" by the London Metropolitan Police.
In light of these circumstances, it would be "unjust, oppressive and invidious" to extradite the married father of two, the judge added.
The Judge also found that there was a clear lapse of time between the time that the offence occurred and when extradition proceedings were initiated “for which no reasonable explanations were given.”
Catherine Corridan (aged 31) disappeared while living in London in 1994. Her body was not found until ten years' later, in wooded ground in west London.
On the night she was last seen Samuel Kerrigan had attended a party with Corridan, who worked at a school for the blind. He told police that he had gone to her flat unannounced and found her body.
He admitted robbing the dead woman and disposing of her body in a shallow grave but emphatically denied that he was the murderer.
The court also heard that Samuel Kerrigan had struck up a relationship with Ms Corridan.