Category: Archive

Guerin murder suspect has drug sentence reduced

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Andrew Bushe

DUBLIN – The man who Gardai say they believe murdered journalist Veronica Guerin in June 1966, has had his sentence for drug dealing cut from 20 years to 12 by the Court of Criminal Appeal.

After being convicted of possession of cannabis for sale or supply by the no-jury Special Criminal Court last November, Patrick “Dutchy” Holland, 58, of Brittas Bay, Co. Wicklow, got one of the severest sentences ever handed down for drug dealing.

The case was the first to hear evidence from a supergrass being held under the state’s witness protection program, which had been set up five months earlier.

During the seven-day hearing, a Garda said she arrested Holland after he arrived in Dun Laoghaire off a car ferry from England last in April 1997.

“I had formed the opinion that Patrick Holland was the man who shot dead Veronica Guerin on June 26, 1996. I was aware he was being sought for the murder of Veronica Guerin,” Garda Marion Cusack told the court.

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Two men shot Guerin dead on a motorbike when she stopped her car at traffic lights in west Dublin. The murder of the campaigning

crime reporter caused outrage and led to the Dail being recalled for a special summer sitting to introduce a special anti-crime package.

Holland has a criminal record dating back to 1965 for receiving armed robbery and possession of explosives and failed in his attempt to have his drug dealing conviction thrown out by the three-judge court of appeal.

After Holland, also nicknamed the “Wig” because of a hair-piece he wore at one stage, was arrested and brought to the Lucan Garda station headquarters of the Guerin murder inquiry, his detention took a bizarre twist.

While on the run in Britain he gave interviews saying he was willing to return to Ireland but wanted his interrogation recorded.

In Lucan station, Gardai found that Holland had made his own arrangements for recording his interview. He had elaborate radio transmitting equipment. Bugs were found in his belt buckle and shoes with the stitching in his shoes acting as an ‘rial.

Holland, who was a former U.S. marine, is also understood to be wanted by the Mounties for questioning in connection with serious crimes in Canada in the 1960s.

Gardai believe he may have been connected with a number of other murder hits. He is thought to have worked for three criminal bosses in his career, including the late Martin “The General” Cahill.

He had entered the drugs trade late in life, apparently as a result of contacts he made in prison. Shortly after he was released early from Portlaoise Prison 1994, he was immersed in the cannabis-peddling racket.

The court had been told that Holland had been part of a cannabis smuggling ring that allegedly imported drugs with a street value of between _17 million and _20 million between 1994 and 1996.

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