Judgment reserved as Rattigan appeals his prison drug conviction
Brian Rattigan has moved to appeal against his conviction for directing the supply of drugs from prison.
Rattigan (37), formerly of Cooley Road, Drimnagh, had pleaded not guilty at the non-
jury Special Criminal Court to possession of heroin and two counts of possession of the drug for sale or supply on Hughes Road South, Walkinstown, on May 21, 2008.
The three-judge Special Criminal Court agreed with the prosecution case that Rattigan was the director of a drugs gang conducting a €1m heroin deal.
He became the first drug dealer to be found guilty of charges connected to directing the supply of drugs while in prison.
During the trial, he was cleared of two counts relating to the possession of two mobile phones at Cell 42, E1 Landing, Portlaoise Prison, while an inmate at the prison on May 22, 2008, which he had also denied.
Sentencing him to 17 years in prison, Mr Justice Paul Butler, presiding, said the Special Criminal Court had regard to the “very frightening” evidence of drugs expert Det Sgt Brian Roberts.
He told the court of the effect heroin had on society, as well as the “alarming” 3,972 drug-related deaths in Ireland between 2004 and 2010.
The sentence, imposed on March 20, 2013, and backdated to June 2008, was directed to run in tandem with a life sentence Rattigan was then serving for the murder of 21-year-old Declan Gavin outside an Abrakebabra in Crumlin on August 25, 2001.
Last December, the Supreme Court quashed Rattigan’s conviction for the murder of Mr Gavin over closing remarks made by the trial judge to the jury which, a majority of the Supreme Court found, had gone further than was desirable.
Rattigan moved to appeal his drugs conviction yesterday in the Court of Appeal, where judgment was reserved.
His barrister, Brendan Grehan, submitted that there was insufficient evidence of possession, within the sense of the word “control”, for the Special Criminal Court to have found him guilty.
At its height, Mr Grehan said, the evidence of telephone contact, accounting methods and so forth were consistent with a “lower level of involvement” than actual control.
To say somebody has knowledge of what is happening from prison was not enough, he submitted, and there was evidence that at least one other person was “equally likely” to have been “calling the shots”.
Mr Justice John Edwards, who sat with Mr Justice John Hedigan and Mr Justice Brian McGovern, said the court would reserve its judgment.