Man involved in police car chase through Draperstown, Tobermore and Maghera loses court appeal


An armed robber jailed for a series of raids today lost his High Court battle over pre-release living arrangements.

Michael Nolan is serving a 12-year sentence for his part in cash-in-transit and retail heists across Northern Ireland.

Although due to get out of prison later this year, he challenged the refusal to let him stay at his own house on temporary home leave.

Nolan from Belfast was told the potential risk he posed in the community could only be safely managed by him going to approved hostel accommodation.

His lawyers sought a judicial review, claiming the Prison Service’s decision last November was unlawful.

The 37-year-old, with a former address at University Street in Belfast, was jailed in 2011 after pleading guilty to five robberies and two attempted robberies.

At the time he and a co-defendant were described as “constituting a robbery team”.

Nolan was convicted of robberies two Lidl supermarkets in Ballymoney and Magherafelt, and a JJB outlet in Belfast.

He was armed with a hatchet when he threatened staff in the Homebase incident.

After the Magherafelt raid in 2010, police chased him through Draperstown, Maghera and Tobermore while he drove a stolen car.

With 116 previous convictions, including four robberies, 12 thefts and two burglaries, probation service assessed him as representing a significant risk of causing serious harm to others.

Dismissing his judicial review bid, Mr Justice Treacy stressed he was not sitting in an appeal of the Prison Service’s stance.

“The court’s role is confined considering whether the impugned decision is shown to be unlawful on one of the public law grounds,” he said.

“I’m satisfied that the decision of the respondent... was proportionate and lawful.”