Martin Corey’s bail appeal rejected

Martin Corey.
Martin Corey.

An appeal by a former republican life sentence prisoner to seek bail to challenge a decision by the Secretary of State to revoke his licence has been rejected by a court in London.

Lawyers for Martin Corey, 63, a republican from Lurgan, who has been in jail without charge for over three years, took the case to the Supreme Court.

He was first sentenced to life imprisonment in 1973 for the murders of two RUC officers and was then freed on licence in 1992.

But in April 2010, the then Northern Ireland Secretary of State Shaun Woodward ordered that he be sent back to prison amid claims, later examined by parole commissioners, he was a leading member of the Continuity IRA, and who posed a risk of serious harm to the public.

In an open judgement, the commissioners stated that Corey had become involved with the CIRA from early 2005 and was in a position of leadership in the organisation from 2008 until his recall to prison.

In July last year the Court of Appeal in Belfast decided the High Court did not have the power to grant bail - a decision unanimously upheld as ‘academic’ by a Supreme Court ruling announced today (Wednesday).

Arguing for his release, Corey’s legal team, led by senior barrister Karen Quinlivan QC, described his detention as arbitrary and a breach of his human rights and was based on classified information.

The case was heard by four senior judges in October, who unanimously dismissed the appeal.

Supporters have previously taken to the streets of Belfast and Lurgan to demand Martin Corey’s release. They have also launched a social media campaign opposing his continuing detention.

Cait Trainor, chairman of the Release Martin Corey Committee, said: “The treatment of Martin Corey is nothing but vindictive. They have not given an acceptable reason for keeping him in jail, never mind refusing the bail application.”