Published Friday, 02 March 2012
Gerry McGeough was jailed last year for a shooting 30 years ago (© UTV)
Gerry McGeough, aged 53 and from Dungannon, Co Tyrone, is serving a 20-year sentence imposed last year for the shooting in June 1981.
He claimed he was being treated differently to other so-called political prisoners who benefited from the Royal Prerogative of Mercy.
But dismissing his judicial review case, a judge at the High Court in Belfast ruled that his comparison cases were invalid.
Mr Justice Treacy said: "The applicant's contention of unequal treatment is, in my view, untenable."
McGeough's victim, Democratic Unionist councillor Samuel Brush, was in court on Friday.
He hit out at the "whinging and whining" by a man convicted of trying to kill him yet still due for release in just over a year's time.
Mr Brush was working as a postman at the time, and making a delivery near Aughnacloy when he was attacked. McGeough was convicted of his attempted murder, possession of a firearm and ammunition, and IRA membership.
But under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement he is expected to serve only two years of his sentence.
Lawyers for McGeough claimed he was being treated differently because he was no longer a member of Sinn Féin. Part of his case is that it would be unlawful to draw a distinction between him and others because he previously served jail terms in Germany and in the United States.
Mr Justice Treacy was told the Royal Prerogative of Mercy was used to free others such as James McArdle, the Armagh man responsible for the 1996 London Docklands bombing.
However, the judge held that McGeough was not comparing like with like.
"No ground of challenge has been made out and the judicial review must be dismissed," he said.
McGeough's legal team will now study the judgment before deciding whether to mount an appeal.
Outside the court, Mr Brush was scathing in his assessment of the case ever being brought.
He said: "If it hadn't been for the fact that he was getting legal aid no lawyer would have advised anyone to spend their own money going through such a futile exercise.
"Most people will find it ironic, and even laughable, that a dedicated Irish Republican as Mr McGeough claims to be should go pleading for the Royal Prerogative of Mercy from her Majesty the Queen."
Mr Brush also pointed to the length of time McGeough will spend behind bars for the attempt on his life.
"He hasn't shown any remorse to me or my family," he said.
"I will carry my injuries to the grave, there's still shrapnel in my chest.
"While he's serving a two-year sentence and whinging and whining I have to get on with my life. It's more than two years for me, it's a life sentence."