Solicitor slams Corey gag order on release

Martin Corey
Martin Corey

A solicitor for Lurgan republican Martin Corey, who was freed from prison and issued with a gagging order preventing him from discussing the terms of his release, has branded the terms ‘Kafekaesque’.

Corey was released last Wednesday after almost four years in prison without trial.

His solicitor Peter Murphy told the Mail: “The long legal crusade to secure Martin Corey’s release is finally at an end.

“The impediments placed before Mr Corey and his legal team and the Kafkaesque nature of this unique legal process are well documented.

“As defence lawyers it is anathema to us that a man can lose nearly four years of his life without ever receiving detailed specifics of what is alleged against him or facing his accuser.

“Whilst there will be those who will unfortunately just assume that a man is guilty because he has had an accusation or accusations levelled against him, we would ask all fair-minded people to reflect upon a system where the fundamental right to one’s liberty can be whisked away with the stroke of a pen but without there ever being any proper way of challenging those assertions.

“Martin Corey is now 63 years of age and he is enjoying the warm embrace of his family and friends for the first time as a free man since April 2010.

“He wants to get on with the rest of his life quietly and peacefully and we would ask that his privacy and that of his family are respected.

“He is very appreciative of the support received during his time in prison and wishes to thank those people who have helped sustain him during this very difficult period in his life.”

Corey had been held in Maghaberry jail since April 2010 without any charges being brought against him, after he was deemed to be a risk to the public.

The Republican Sinn Féin member is a convicted double murderer.

Corey was originally sentenced to life in prison in 1973 for his part in the IRA murders of two police officers, but was released on licence in 1992.

He was re-arrested at his home in Lurgan on April 16 2010 and had been in custody since that date.

He was told he was being sent back to jail because he was considered a risk to the public, but at the time neither Corey, or his legal team, were told why the authorities believed he posed a threat.

Former Northern Ireland Secretary of State Shaun Woodward had ordered his prison recall on the basis of “closed material” and unspecified allegations of involvement with dissident republicans.

Corey’s supporters claimed he was being interned without trial and launched a campaign to secure his release.

Last May, his lawyers said they would challenge his detention in the European court.

Corey was released from custody on Wednesday evening, following a decision by the Parole Commissioners for Northern Ireland. He left Maghaberry prison in an unmarked van at about 8pm.

It is understood the conditions of his release include a ban on speaking to the media.

Members of the Free Martin Corey Campaign have told the BBC they had concerns about the manner of his release.

A campaign spokesperson, Cait Trainor, said: “It is clear the continued imprisonment of Martin Corey was a political embarrassment to the Northern Ireland Office and he was released in a way that would ensure minimum publicity.”

In a statement, a spokeswoman from the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) said that “the independent Parole Commissioners for Northern Ireland have issued their judgment in respect of Martin Corey”.

“The Parole Commissioners have decided to release Martin Corey on a licence that is subject to conditions which are designed to manage the risk they assess him to pose,” the NIO spokeswoman added.

Corey’s release has been welcomed by Sinn Féin but the party said the government has “lessons to learn from his imprisonment”.