A second man, 28-year-old John Paul Wootton, from Lurgan, Co Armagh, was handed a minimum 18-year term for his part in the assassination.
Constable Carroll, 48, was the first police officer to be killed in Northern Ireland after the formation of the PSNI.
He was ambushed and shot dead by dissident republicans as he responded to a 999 call at Lismore Manor, Craigavon in March 2009.
A circumstantial case involving DNA evidence helped to secure the murder convictions, including gun residue on a coat linked to McConville recovered from a car said to have been used by the killers.
He is among 40 republican and loyalist inmates held within a separated regime at the high security HMP Maghaberry.
The court heard he is in the final stages of a Bachelor of Science honours degree in criminology and psychology studies.
Proceedings were brought against the Prison Service for an alleged failure to provide access to the necessary internet resources.
Counsel for McConville said his client was in segregation at Maghaberry for safety reasons.
He argued that it was irrational for the authorities to say the convicted killer can use the facilities by simply leaving the separate regime.
According to McConville’s legal team it amounted to a difference in treatment.
Lawyers representing the Prison Service rejected assertions that he was never offered use of the education suite, stressing it is located in a special unit open to all within the jail.
The challenge had been deferred to allow time to consider a report into learning opportunities for separated inmates and a potential complaint to the Prisoner Ombudsman.
But in court today Lord Justice McCloskey confirmed he was granting leave to apply for judicial review.
Following the ruling McConville’s solicitor, Gavin Booth of Phoenix Law, said: “My client is challenging the refusal to allow him access to the computer suite for the purposes of degree work, which requires online material.
“Hopefully this will give all prisoners the same rights, entitlements an access to education provisions.”
With many thanks to the: Belfast News Letter for the original story
In as much as I admire and respect people who make good choices in life to further and advance their education, it leaves me wondering about the true motives behind this choice of career.
Hopefully he will use his degree to bring about change in our country by doing extensive research on the factors both psychologically and socially that lead to the causes of heinous crimes being committed.
My husband studied for a degree in Sports Science which he slotted into his life including being a father, grandfather and husband. He also carried out his work protecting the community where his life was tragically taken away.
He, (through no fault of his own) never got the chance to realise his dream of working with people who had suffered from heart attacks and strokes.
His human rights went to the grave with him.
Steve was denied the right to life by a person who is now demanding the right to internet access – what an insult to every sane person and logically thinking person on this Island
There is no contest between life versus internet access!
Why are convicted criminals allowed to have internet and media services access?
How was Mr McConville able to have air-time on a radio station whilst still incarcerated?
It would have made more sense to have spoken out in the court and protested innocence there.
Instead he came into court in grubby clothes wearing a long beard and refused to recognise the court.
I wouldn’t have said those were the actions of an innocent person.
Do criminals have more rights than their victims?
Why are they able to have interaction with the judicial system at all?
Taxpayers’ money would be put to better use investigating how convicted felons are able to access outside services for their own personal gain.
A criminologist’s job is to determine and analyse why a crime was committed and find ways to prevent further criminal behaviours.
Hopefully Mr McConville will use his knowledge of criminology in this way and not as a possible tool to find loopholes in the judicial system.
With many thanks to the: Belfast Telegraph and Kate Carroll for the original story
Editor’s Viewpoint: Killer McConville’s legal action isa sickening irony
A case currently before our courts strains our credulity, even in the Alice-in-Wonderland of Northern Ireland.
Dissident republican killer Brendan McConville, from Lurgan and serving a minimum of 25 years for the murder of PSNI constable Stephen Carroll in 2009, has launched a judicial review against the Prison Service over the alleged denial of safe access to him to use online resources while studying for an Open University degree.
Constable Carroll, then 48, was the first PSNI officer to be murdered, shot dead as he answered a 999 call in Craigavon.
John Paul Wootton, from Lurgan, was given a minimum 18-year sentence for his involvement.
McConville, in Maghaberry Prison, is in the final stages of a B.Sc honours degree, ironically in criminology and psychology. He claims the prison authorities are discriminating against him because, as a segregated prisoner, he cannot access online resources which are located in a separate unit.
Mr Justice McCloskey, in adjourning the legal challenge until October, said that this would allow time to consider a report into learning opportunities for segregated prisoners, and also into any potential complaint to the Police Ombudsman.
In today’s paper Stephen Carroll’s widow, Kate, surely speaks for us all when she asks the pointed question: “Do criminals have more rights than their victims?”
Like the rest of the UK, Northern Ireland has a robust adversarial justice system, with an appeals process.
But there was no right of appeal to a higher court when McConville and his associates set out to ambush and murder Constable Carroll. As Kate Carroll rightly says, her husband’s human rights went to the grave with him.
One truth about modern penology, which human rights activists are often slow to admit, is that even life-sentence prisoners like Brendan McConville can live a tolerable existence behind bars.
They have three meals a day, access to other prisoners, and to education facilities.
There is a life to be had in prison. In sharp contrast, Stephen Carroll’s life was brutally ended, and his widow Kate’s life changed utterly.
Such double-standards are nauseating. Perhaps, as Kate Carroll suggests, this is the time for the pendulum to swing back in favour of victims’ rights. The courts are best-placed to start this recalibration towards common sense and justice.
With many thanks to the: Belfast Telegraph and the Editors Viewpoint for the original story
Brendan McConville was born on 19th May 1971. He is the youngest son of Willie and Eileen, from Lurgan Co, Armagh, Brother to Damian, Thomas and Dwyer. Brendan is a loving Father of two boys, Sean and Caoimhin
He first attended Tanaghmore Primary school in Lurgan before moving to Craigavon with his family at the age of seven, where he attended St. Anthony’s Primary school and then on to Lismore Comprehensive. Brendan has a keen interest in the Irish language and culture, after leaving school he attended Irish language classes at the Lurgan Cumann of the Gaelic League were he obtained a gold fainne.
Brendan is passionate about community activism, in the past he served the people of Loughside ward in Lurgan when they elected him as their local councillor in Craigavon Borough Council. Brendan is known locally as an astute articulate debater, yet is soft spoken with a smiling generous personality. He enjoys a close relationship with his family and friends and is well respected within his community.
Through out the ordeal that Brendan now finds himself he has continually denied all involvement, as can been seen on this site the so called evidence against him is thin or non existent, despite these hardships and the conditions in which he finds himself Brendan keeps his spirits up through reading and letter writing he also helps other Prisoners interested in learning the Irish Language, for his family he is a pillar of strength in these trying times, to all who know him he is affectionately known as “big Yandie”
Happy Birthday to my amazing husband, I could write all day about this man. Brendan is extremely focused on his studies which he is doing to improve and help with our future. After having a stroke, he has lost weight and without fail goes to Gym every week day, he even does training over the weekend. He takes a great comfort and strength from Mass each week, with a solid and great friendship with Father Frank ( who married us ) and prays morning and evening. Brendan enjoys Art and paints for relaxation, along with writing beautiful and funny poetry. He with a small group of others has just recorded two songs in guitar class, which is being put on a CD and i can’t wait for him to send me out 🙂 We share much of the same music from The Boss, Bob Dylan, Stevie Nicks, Cat Stevens, Tom Petty ect. When there is nothing on TV we listen to the same music.Brendan also finds it important to maintain his Irish studies and manages one day a week for Irish classes. I adore this man, i am proud of his achievements and his determination in everything he does. Happy Birthday Brendan, I love you ❤ xxx