Man facing extradition from Ireland over suspected IRA bombing involvement

James Corry
James Corry

A barrister at the High Court today accused the German federal authorities of "culpable negligence" for waiting for more than ten years to pursue an arrest warrant for a man suspected of involvement in a Provisional IRA bombing.

Remy Farrell SC said that the Germans had engaged in "finger-pointing" at the gardai and the Irish state and failed to explain why they did not act on information given to them by gardai back in 2005.

Mr Farrell was representing James Anthony Oliver Albert Corry (46), who was arrested in Killorglin, Co Kerry last October on foot of a European Arrest Warrant issued by German authorities.

Mr Corry is suspected of involvement in a Provisional IRA attack in Osnabruck, Germany in 1996 in which three mortar shells were fired at a British army barracks.
Justice Aileen Donnelly reserved judgment until November 14.

Mr Corry was placed on the International Wanted List in 2004 and in May 2005 gardai contacted German authorities to tell them he was living in Kerry.

The German prosecutor's next move came this year when he issued a European Arrest Warrant and gardai executed it in October.

Mr Farrell said: "This is a delay of truly exceptional proportions," adding: "It is unconscionable that a party to such proceedings would refuse to give an explanation for a ten-year delay."

Under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, he said, any move to take Mr Corry away from his family in Ireland would need to be of "pressing social need".

He said that if the Germans did perceive such a need, they would be guilty of "culpable negligence" for waiting so long.

The gardai and Irish authorities deserved no criticism for their part, he said, despite the German Federal Prosecutor suggesting they could have arrested Mr Corry on foot of the fact he was on the International Wanted List.

Mr Farrell described this as "nonsense" and "unconvincing finger-pointing" adding: "There is no legal authority to do so without a [European] Arrest Warrant." 

Mr Farrell also said that under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, were Mr Corry to be found guilty of the offence in Ireland or the UK he would be released within two years.

However, in Germany, he could face life imprisonment if found guilty. This, he said, was "oppressive" and unfair in circumstances where another person extradited to the UK for a similar offence would face a maximum of two years in prison.

Representing the Minister for Justice, Sean Guerin SC said the alleged offence was "very serious" and therefore the public interest could never be described as insignificant, regardless of any delay by the Germans.

Regarding Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, he said it does not apply in this case because there are no exceptional family circumstances that require Mr Corry to remain in Ireland.

He added that there is nothing discriminatory regarding the possibility of life imprisonment in Germany versus two years in the UK for a similar offence. "He would be treated in the same way as anyone else in that jurisdiction," he said.

Justice Aileen Donnelly reserved judgment until November 14, 2016.

Eoin Reynolds