DPP seek to appeal against sentence for UVF multiple murderer

UVF mural at the Mount Vernon estate in north Belfast
UVF mural at the Mount Vernon estate in north Belfast

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is moving to appeal the six-and-a-half year jail term handed to a former north Belfast UVF figure.

On January 29, loyalist Gary Haggerty – who had acted as an informer for the police, and who had been based in the Mount Vernon estate off the Shore Road – had been sentenced after admitting to 202 different offences, including the murders of six people.

UVF mural at the Mount Vernon estate in north Belfast

UVF mural at the Mount Vernon estate in north Belfast

The UVF man’s sentence was massively reduced because he was deemed an “assisting offender”, who had provided evidence against other people allegedly involved in terrorism.

However, last October, the then-DPP Barra McGrory was revealed that 13 people whom Haggerty had accused of crimes would not be prosecuted using the evidence he gave.

(READ MORE – ‘McGrory: it is not for me to apologise over Haggerty case’)

In a statement issued on Monday night, the Public Prosecution Service (now headed by recently-appointed DPP Stephen Herron) said it has sought leave to refer the sentence imposed on Gary Haggarty last month to the Court of Appeal.

Among the offences Haggerty had admitted were the murders of Sean McParland, Gary Convie, Eamon Fox, Sean McDermott and John Harbinson, and Peter McTasney.

The Public Prosecution Service said that a further 301 offences had been taken into consideration during the sentencing.

It said it has now “sought leave to refer the sentence of Gary Haggarty to the Court of Appeal as potentially unduly lenient”.

It is thought that such an appeal would be heard by a three-judge panel.

The prosecutors’ statement this evening read: “On Monday 29 January, 2018, he received a fixed minimum term of imprisonment of 35 years at

Belfast Crown Court.

“This was reduced by 75% for the assistance that he provided, 60% of which applied to his assistance under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005.

“His sentence was discounted by a further 25% for his plea of guilty.

“The resulting tariff was six-and-a-half years’ imprisonment before he can be considered for release by the Parole Commissioners.”