IRA killer’s extradition can go ahead

A convicted IRA killer has lost a High Court battle against being extradited from the Republic of Ireland to serve out his prison sentence for the assassination of a businessman in Belfast.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 21st June 2022, 5:14 pm

Robert Duffy, 50, challenged moves to return him to Northern Ireland after being deemed to have breached the terms of his early release under the Good Friday Agreement.

But Mr Justice Colton ruled yesterday that the extradition warrant is lawful.

Duffy received a life sentence for the murder of building company director John Gibson in October 1993.

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Robert Duffy, 50, challenged moves to return him to Northern Ireland

Mr Gibson was shot dead in the driveway of his home on the northern outskirts of Belfast because his firm carried out construction work for the security services. The killing was claimed by the IRA.

Duffy, originally from the Ligoniel Road in the city, served four years behind bars before being freed on licence in July 2000 as part of the Good Friday Agreement.

One of the conditions of his early release was that he did not become a danger to the public.

But he was subsequently convicted of the attempted murder of a man in a shooting at a packed bar in Dundalk in March 2007.

Duffy had left the pub to retrieve a shotgun before returning to the premises and firing twice at the victim’s face.

He was subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment at Dublin’s Central Criminal Court in 2008.

At that stage the secretary of state in Northern Ireland suspended his licence on the basis that he had become a danger to the public.

In 2012 the Sentence Review Commissioners (SRC) revoked his licence.

With Duffy due for imminent release from Shelton Abbey prison in Co Wicklow, where he is serving the attempted murder sentence, moves were made to have him returned to Northern Ireland to complete the term imposed for the killing of Mr Gibson.

In April a district judge at Belfast Magistrates’ Court issued a warrant for his extradition under section 142 of the Extradition Act.

Duffy launched judicial review proceedings, claiming a failure to take into account public law considerations.

However, Mr Justice Colton found no merit in any of the grounds of challenge, and declared that the issuing of the warrant was perfectly lawful and in accordance with the statutory provisions.