‘ We consider that any of the grounds of appeal haveAssemblyde out - Lord Chief Justice Declan Morgan.
A FORMER IRA man’s bid to overturn his conviction for attempted murder has been rejected. Lawyers for Co Tyrone man Gerry McGeough said he had been assured immunity from prosecution by a Sinn Fein representative.
The lawyers argued that criminal proceedings that led to McGeough being jailed for trying to kill part-time soldier Samuel Brush 32 years ago were an abuse of process. Central to his case was an allegation that North Belfast assembly member Gerry Kelly, pictured below, had assured McGeough in 2000 that he would not be charged if he returned to the North from being on the run. McGeough had escaped from hospital after being wonded when his victim – now a DUP councillor – returned fire in the ambush. He cotended that Mr Kelly had given him a binding primise on behalf of the Stormont executive.
Lord Chief Justice Declan Morgan pointed to legal authorites which set out that an abuse of process depended on an unequivocal guarantee of immunity being by those bringing the criminal case. ” We do not consider that the evidence indicates any basis for the conclusion that Mr Kelly was a represntative of verdict and esponsible forhonduct of the investigation or prosecutions, ” the judge said. “We further agree that in any event the statement attributed to Mr Kelly, who did not give evidence, did not contain any representation, never mind one which could be said to be unequivocal for the purpose of this test.” Mr Brush was working as a postman when he was shot and seriously wonded near Aughnacloy, Co Tyrone in June 1981. McGeough (54), from Dungannon, was convicted in 2011 of attempted murder, possession of firearms with intent to commit an indictable offence and IRA membership. He was jailed for 20 years but released earlier this year under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement. The one-time gunrunner was not in court yesterday to hear judges throw out all grounds of the appeal. Correspondence from the Northern Ireland Office to Mr Kelly in 2003 was introudeced during the case. The letter included McGeough in a list of six people who would face arrest and questioning if they returned to the North of Ireland.
As part of a disclosure process evidence was also called from William Smyth of the Progressive Unionist Party. He claimed to have attended a meeting with former Secretary of State Mo Mowlam during negotiations leading up to the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. It was alleged that she had confirmed that those who had committed offences during the Troubles for which they had not been convicted would not be prosecuted. Mr Smyth also stated that those who came forward to admit their crimes would serve two years in jail while those who refused to accept guilt would apparenty face no punishment. Sir Declan, sitting with Lords Justices Higgins and Girvan, said : “Such an outcome would be absurd. “The learned disclosure judge concluded, in our veiw inevitabilty, that Mr Smyth’s evidence that the issue of on-the-runs was ‘done and dusted’ was difficult to accept.” MrGeough also failed to establish that it was unfair to try him because of the passage of time. Detailing his escape from hospital, subsequent proceedings against him in continental Europe and the US and a period spent in the Republic, Sir Declan held that any delay in the trail was McGeough’s responsibility. “We do not consider that any of the grounds of appeal have been made out and we do not consider the convictions are unsafe,” the judge said. Mr Brush was in court for the virdict and later said he had been under no doubt the appeal would be thrown out. Dismissing McGeough’s claims to have been assured immunity, Mr Brush said : “We ars living in a fairytale land as it but to suggest that was going to take place is even worhorse .” The DUP councillor also hit out the founding being given to bring the challenge. “As far as I can see it’s another scandalous misuse of the legal aid system. It had no chance of success,” he said.
With many thanksis to : The Irish News.
- IRA man’s bid to overturn attempted murder conviction fails (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- British Interests Best Served by Present Arrangements ! (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- SDLP challenged on paramilitary funeral attendance (newsletter.co.uk)
- Men Jailed for Carroll Killing Get Date for Legal Challenge (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- SF and SDLP should pay to remove IRA signs: Ringland (newsletter.co.uk)
- Man jailed for sexually abusing sister was safely convicted – court hears (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
DUP MP NIGEL DODDS CALL’S ARDOYNE FIANNA ” CHILD EXPLORATION & GLORIFYING PARAMILITARY ACTIVITIES AND VIOLENCE ‘ !
” So Mr Dodds and Nelson McCauseland : ” What the fuck do you call this ? ” Are you going to condemned the exploitation of children glorifying paramilitary activities and violence on the fucking Orange side too ???
A SECOND nationalist residents group has lodged an application to hold a protest during a parade at a North Belfast flashpoint on Monday. Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (GARC) want to demonstrate as up to 100 Apprentice Boys and a march past the Nationalist area.
The Crumlin and Ardoyne Residents Association has already been given permission to hold a protest numbering 100 people. GARC spokesman Dee Fennell said the ddecision on a second protest was taken after consultation with residents. ” We carried out a number of consultations and had a meeting to consider going through proper channels or just go ahead because that’s what loyalists have been doing,” he said. ” For our part, GARC remain fully committed to having dialogue with any and all the loyal orders, either face to face or through agreed intermediaries, in order that they get a representive feeling of the vast majority of Greater Ardoyne Residents – that no sectarian marches are welcome.” A spokesman for the Parades Commission said GARC’s application will be considered today.
WITH MANY THANKS TO : Connia Young, Irish News.
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- Law Targeting Radical Fundamentalists Used Against Willie Frazer (fiannaiochta.wordpress.com)
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There have been a marked number of people considering cremation in recent years. To facilitate this, a columbarium for repose of ashes is being created in the grounds of the Church of Saint Vincent de Paul in Ligoniel for parishioners in the Parish of Saint Vincent de Paul, surrounding Parishes and further afield.
For more information please go to http://www.saintvincentdepaulligoniel.com or contact the Parish Office on ( 02890 ) 713401.
THE FAMILY OF a North Belfast man murdered by the British Army more than 40-years-ago said they hope the truth will finally be exposed after the Attorney-General agreed to reopen the inquest into his death.
After more than four decades fighting to clear his name the family of Ardoyne man Barney Watts received notice recently the Attorney General will reopen the inquest into his murder and re-examine the circumstances surrounding his death. Last April the release of the Historical Enquires Team (HET) report into his murder concludes the soldiers ” shot the wrong man” and the findings should allow ” for the consideration of an apology at government level ” for the family.
The father-of-one was shot dead near his home in Hooker Street in 1971 after he had been socialising with a friend in the area. The army claimed at the inquest into his death that they shot the 28 year old because he was about to throw a metal object at them that was alight and later exploded, blowing him six or seven feet into the air. However the soldiers’ version of events were challenged by witnesses and forensic reports, with one forensic scientist who took swabs from Mr Watt’s body concluding no presence of lead had been found. The pathologist who carried out the postmortem also said there was no evidence Barney had been injuried in an explosion.
Barney’s wife Theresa, who was seven months pregnant with her daughter Bernadine at the time of his death, has spent the past 40years with the knowledge her husband was shot for no valid reason. Theresa Watts said this week that she always knew the truth behind her husbands murder but is glad another step on the road to a public acknowledgement of his wrongful death is imminent, ” The truth has to come out, I always knew it,” she said. ” I have waited long enough, it is over 40 years now and I have been knocked back so many times. I just kept trying.”
The Watts’ family Solicitor Padraig O’ Muirigh explained how the family were able to successfully petition the Attorney general to reopen the inquest.” There are a number of changes to the Coroner’s court in recent years which assisted the Watts family‘s decision to make an application to the Attorney-General to reopen the inquests,” he said. ” The fact that the inquest will have to comply with Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The fact that the British soldiers involved in the killings are now compellable witnesses. The fact that the House of Lords has made it clear that the Coroner dealing with an inquest has a generous discretion in relation to the remit of an inquest and the fact that a jury will now be in a position to reach ” findings”. “The decision by the Attorney General is a significant step forward for the families’ quest for truth. ” The Watts family are also considering civil proceedings against the MoD and PSNI in light of these findings. I have also written to the British Secretary of State, Owen Patterson, the British Secretary of State for Defence, Dr Liam Fox, and General Sir Peter Wall, Chief of the General Staff of the British Army to demand an apology for the Watts family for the actions of the British Army.”
WITH THANKS TO : GEMMA BURNS NORTH BELFAST NEWS.
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- New chief coroner to overhaul inquests (guardian.co.uk)
- Death in Remand: Contributing Factors (in News) (thetyee.ca)
- Complaints over Dixon delays (nzherald.co.nz)
- Shoot-to-kill” inquest opens after 22 years of lies (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
After years of stalemate a deal is reached on barrack land with the crucial elements of housing sort
A major political-break-through that will finally see a historic agreement on the future of the Girdwood site is set to be announced as early as next week, the North Belfast News can exclusively reveal.
After months of background negotiations all political parties have reached an agreement on the issue and the final massive package for the site will be revealed within days. The Girdwood Barracks site on the Crumlin Road has long been known as the ” open sore ” of North Belfast, with multimillion pound plans to regenerate the site stalled for years due to the failure of local politicians to agree on the plans. In November last year we revealed £9.6 million was offered by the Special EU Programmes Body(SEUPB) to build a multi use ” community hub ” at the site. It was understood the European money, which will be added to the tens of millions required to build the site, was a major catalyst in the parties reaching an agreement on the land.
The massive new regeneration deal will include the hub as well as a huge investment in leisure facilities, sports pitches and incorporate land for the Mater Hospitaland local schools as well as well as space for employment and training.
Significantly it will also include housing – the main sticking point between the parties – with Unionists previously objecting to any housing on the historic former barracks land. Although it is not yet clear how many homes are to be built on the site, we understand housing is a significant part of the agreed package. Sources have speculated the DUP, who had been the main opponents of housing at Girdwood, agreed to the plans because changes to the electoral boundaries will continue to give a Unionist majority in the North Belfast constituency, regardless of how many nationalists would be housed in Girdwood.
There has also been speculation that with two North Belfast ministers in the Stormont Executive, Culture Minister Caral Ni Chuilin and Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland, that North Belfast was high on the agenda. A source told the North Belfast News the agreement is a ” new era ” for North Belfast. ” This is a massive breakthrough and can’t be underestimated. Everyone knows how long Girdwood has been dragging on for, so to have them agree to something they are all happy with is huge. ” If they are able to unlock Girdwood after all this time it bodes will for everything else in North Belfast. This really is big news.”
WITH MANY THANKS TO : GEMMA BURNS NORTH BELFAST NEWS.
- Plan finally agreed for abandoned north Belfast Army base (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- Gaol set for distillery make-over (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- Orange parade ‘sets tone’ for centenaries (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Opposition to Renaming of Belfast Street by the Dup ! (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- ‘Ardoyne-style talks’ wanted at Drumcree (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
AN ATTEMPT to name a north Belfast Street in memory of 15 people murdered in a Loyalist bombing which the then RUC claimed was an own goal and accused the McGurk family being personally involved in the bombing is back on the agenda, despite unionist opposition.
DUP councillor Brian Kingston opposed it. ” Is this the route we want to go down, renaming streets in Belfast after atrocities of the troubles, ” he asked.
- Sinn Fein set to support Belfast Diamond Jubilee events (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- The Siege of New Forge: Unionism’s latest pyrrhic triumph. (sluggerotoole.com)
- New UUP leader rules out electoral pact with DUP (leftfootforward.org)
- On Robinson as leader & the limitations of his ‘slightly conciliatory’ strategy (sluggerotoole.com)
- Talking about Reconciliation … (sluggerotoole.com)
A FORMER SOLDIER who was discharged from the army after being injured in Afghanistan subjected a terrified women to a ” ghastly…. cruel and callous” sex attack in North Belfast.This was the fourth women Gerald Verner had physically and violently assaulted.
The judge said the 23 – year – old was a danger to women and jailed him for seven years. Judge Gemma Loughran told him his victims statement ” Is a chilling account of a ghastly experience, a very cruel and callous series of attacks by you “. She said it would be up to the parole board when and under what licence conditions he would be released under and added that he would serve an extra three years on that licence. Last month, just before his 20-year-old victim was due to take the stand Verner, from Forthriver Park in north Belfast, pleaded guilty to charges that he sexually assulated, falsely imprisoned, threatened to kill and caused actual bodily harm to the women on February 6th last year.
The court heard Friday 23rd March 2012 how he took the women prisoner in his Forthriver Park home and that during the terrifying ordeal, he sexually attacked her, threatened to kill her and punched and kicked her in the face. Verner suffered permanent hearing damage in a road side bomb in Afghanistan. In jailing Verner, Judge Loughran said he had ” violated her dignity ” and that it was a ” seriously aggravating factor ” that this was his fourth female victim, although she accepted it is Verner’s first sex crimes. She also imposed an indefinite Sexual Offences Prevention Order barring Verner from ever contacting his victim or her family, living at any address without approval, changing his personal circumstances such as address, Job or car ownership wihout prior approval or from entering a new relationship without telling his designated risk manager.
- Sex attacker gets open-ended term (bbc.co.uk)
- Thousands Of Criminals Applied To Be Teachers (news.sky.com)
- Man charged with Belfast attack (bbc.co.uk)
- Four arrested over dissidents’ terror plot to kill soldier – Belfast Telegraph (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)