John Gilligan, the man wanted for the murder of the journalist Veronica Guerin has made another attempt to prevent his extradition to Ireland. The 46-year-old Dublin man has submitted an application to the High Court in London claiming he should not be sent to face trial before the Special Criminal Court in Dublin because there is no similar court in England. Gilligan has been fighting extradition for over three years.

Gilligan has been held in prison in Britain since October of 1996, when he was arrested at Heathrow Airport with £330,000 in cash. He has been charged with money-laundering offences, but that case has been suspended so that the extradition case can take precedent.

John Gilligan is wanted in Ireland to face a charge of murdering Veronica Guerin and 17 drugs and firearms charges. For the past three years he has fought extradition, but last month the House of Lords, Britain's highest court ruled that he should be sent back to Ireland. The House of Lords is due to publish its reasons for this decision tomorrow.

But now Gilligan has taken a fresh legal course and applied in his own handwriting for a habeas corpus to prevent his extradition. He is claiming such a move would be illegal because there is no court in England, which corresponds to the Special Criminal Court. Gardaí are seeking an early date for this latest hearing. They still hope to have Gilligan back in Ireland by Christmas.