‘I spent 17 and a half years in jail for somethig. I didn’t do. I intend to seek compensation – Patrick Livingstone.

Pat Livingstone and Anthony McIntyre outside a H Block cell in 1991.
Pat Livingstone and Anthony McIntyre outside a H Block cell in 1991.

A MAN jailed for the notorious murder of a council worker in Belfast nearly 40 years ago has had his conviction quashed. Senior judges declared significant uneasea about the safety of the verdict against Patrick Livingstone for the so-called ‘Good Samaritan‘ killing of Protestant Samuel Llewellyn.

Patrick Livingstone leaves court with his son Cormac yesterday after being cleared of the 1975 murder of ‘Good Samaritian’ Samuel Llewellyn ; top left Mr Livingstone’s sister Julie who was later murdered by the British Army after being hit by a a plastic bullet and below right how the Irish News reported Mr Llewellyn’s murder.

Their ruling was based on the alleged brutality of RUC (scumbag) officers involved in securing a statement implicating the West Belfast man. Mr Livingstone (62) descibed the decision as a vindication of his fight to clear his name. He now plans to seek compensaton for the 17 years he spent behind bars for the murder. Mr Llewellyn was abducted as he delivered hardboard to repair homes damaged by a bombing in the Clonard area of Belfast’s Falls Road in August 1975. The council cleansing department worker, from Mossvale Street on the Shankill Road, was taken to a house in Lesson Streetw where he was shot eight times by the IRA. His body was wrapped in a sheet and put in the back of a van which was then set alight.

Residents of the lower Falls placed a large sympathy notice in The Irish News condemning the murder of a “man who came to the help of old people and residents”. The only evidence against Mr Livingstone at his trial came from three (discredited) RUC officers who interviewed him at Dundalk Garda Station and claimed he confessed to the murder. It was alleged that he taunted the policemen about the shooting, boasting they could do nothing about it because he had no intention of crossing the border. He disputed their account and denied the killing, with his defence claiming the RUC concocted a lying account. However, he was subsequently convicted at Belfast City Commission in May 1977 and sentenced to life imprisonment.

British Injustice

His case was reopened and referred back to the Court of Appeal by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), the body set up to examine potential miscarriages of justice. The challenge centered on alleged police brutality towards another man who said he was beaten into signing a statement which claimed Mr Livingstone admitted the shooting to him. His allegations included : being put againt a a wall and hit across the stomach ; having chest and head hairs pulled out ; and being hooded, spun around and hit across the feet for up to 45 minutes. The CCRC also investigated the quashing on appeal of another man’s convictions for assualting two of the RUC officers who testified at the murder trial. Ruling on the case alongside two other judges, Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan held that the fresh evidence should be introudeced. He said the claims of police mistreatment was never tested and would have opened a line of inquiry “which might have affected the credibility of the police witnesses”. Sir Declan added : “Because of the non-disclosure the appellant lost the opportunity to pursure that line of argument.”

Evidence had also been raised of potential wrongdoing in testimony from at least some of the ( corroupt) police interveiwers, the judge held. He confirmed : “For the reasons set out we have a significant sence of unease about the correctness of this virdict and accordingly allow the appeal.” Mr Livingstone, who was in the Court of Appeal with his son Cormac and other friends yesterday, told how the outcome has been “a long time coming”. Speaking after the verdict, he said : “I feel totally vindicated. But there’s a lot more people than me, on both sides of the devide, who went through those Diplock Courts. “I spent 17 and a half years in jail for something I didn’t do. I intend to seek compensation.” Mr Liningstone’s 14-year-old sister Julie was murdered during the Troubles after being struck by a plastic bullet fired by the British army on Belfast’s Stewartstown Road duing the Hunger Strike of 1981. A brother Robin, who has written extensively about his sisters death ; is the editor of the West Belfast newspaper the Andersontown News.

With many thanks to : Irish News.

For more on this story please follow the link at the top of the page :


‘It’s our case  that police have manipulated and subverted the appeal process – Barry Macdonald QC.

POLICE decision-making and arresting officers are to give evidence about an alleged attempt to sabotage appeals by two men jailed for murdering  Constable Stephen Carroll, a court has heard. Amid repeated claims that the PSNI/RUC tried to stymie the legal process by detaining a new witness, senior judges were told covert surveillance recordings were also to be examined.


Details emerged as an unprecedented bid to secure independent oversight of the ongoing police investigation was put back until October. Interference  has been alleged by lawyers for John Paul Wotton and Brendan McConville, both of whom are seeking to overturn their murder convictions. Constable Carroll was ambushed and shot dead as he responded to a 999 call at Lismore Manor, Craigavon on March 2009. McConville (41), of Glenholme Avenue in the town, is serving at least a 25-year sentence for the killing. Wotton (22), of Collindale, Lurgan, received a minimum 14-year term. Days before their joint appeal was to get under way last month, a man related to a key prosecution witness was arrested and held for two days before being released without charge. This man has made a sworn court statement branding his relative a compulsive liar.

According to defence lawyers police arrested him in a bid to pressure him into withdrawing his evidence and told him he would be discredited if he testified.The lawyers want the Court of Appeal to direct independent oversight of this aspect of the investigation. One option would be for the Criminal Cases Review Commission to intervene. A separate request has been made to the police oombudsman to look into allegations of misconduct. In court yesterday Barry Macdonald QC, for McConville, said : “It’s our case that police have manipulated and subverted the appeal process.” Questions to be decided in the defence application include :

  • Was  the surveillance operation properly authorised under laws governing the use of covert techniques?
  • Was the arrest of the new witness lawful and necessary?
  • Was there any attempt to presuade or coerce him to alter his evidence?
  • Has there been any police manipulation of the process?
  • If so, what are the consequences?

Mr Macdonald said he intended to call the new wwitness and at least one solicitor to testify. Ciaran Murphy QC, for the Public Prosecution Service, told the court that all police officers who had either decided to make the arrest or carried it out would be expected to give evidence. All interviews and recordings should be gone through as well, in a process that could take days, he suggested. Mr Murphy said he was satisfied proper authorisation was obtained in relation to the covert material. “If there is action by the police either inappropriate or unlawful, past or future, there is a clear remedy open to the defendants,” he said. However, Mr Macdonald expressed concern that the application would not be heard until October, when the appeal itself is scheduled to begin. “In the absence of any measures to provide independent oversight of this investigation the court itself will have exposed itself to possible liability for breach of article 6 [ right to a fair trial ],” the lawyer said. The case was adjourned for a further review next month.

With many thanks to : Irish News.


” Two police officers called at the house of this wwitness on whose fresh evidence we rely…. it appears they forced their way into the house and proceeded to warn him that if he went to court he would be discredited ” – Barry Macdonald QC.


POLICE have made an apparent attempt to sabotage appeals by two men convicted of murdering Constable Stephen Carroll, a court heard yesterday. A new witness in the case of John Paul Wotton and Brendan McConville was arrested last week and held for two days before being released without charge in a bid to pressure him into withdrawing his evidence, it was claimed.

Senior judges were told officers had forced their way into his home and warned him he would be discredited if he went to court. Yesterday the planned five-day hearing of the appeal by the pair found guilty of the killing was adjourned because of uncertainty over the potential fresh evidence. Defence lawyers said they would lodge a complaint with the police oombudsman’s office. Constable Carroll was ambushed and shot dead as he responded to an emergency call at Lismore Manor in Craigavon in March 2009. McConville (41), of Glenholme Avenue in the town, is serving at least a 25-year sentence for the murder. Wotton (22), of Collingdale, Lurgan, received a minimum 14-year term. Dressed in dark suits and wearing shirts and ties, both men were led handcuffed into a packed Court of Appeal for the planned opening of their cchallenge.

Family, friends and supporters, including Paddy Hill of the Birmingham Six and Gerry Conlon of the Guildford Four (pictured above), gathered in the public gallery a few feet away from the murdered officer’s wife Kate Carroll. They heard prosecution counsel Ciaran Murphy QC seek an adjournment because of the new developments. He said an arrest had been made last week as part of a surveillance operation. “There are a number of lines of inquiry that are not yet complete,” he said. Two lever-arch files of new material have emerged and include the contents of 11 interviews. Mr Murphy indicated that ongoing police inquires could take several weeks. McConville’s barrister Barry Macdonald QC stressed that the prosecution case was based entirely on circumstantial evidence, primarily from a man identified only as witness M who claimed to have seen McConville in the area at the time of the killing. Earlier this month a relative of witness M who did not testify at the trial gave an affidavit branding him a compulsive liar, the court heard. Mr Macdonald said the affidavit stated “that he was known to the family as a Walter Mitty, that made up stories, that he had a fertile imagination and you could not believe anything he said “. According to the relative, witness M could not have taken the route he claimed on the night of the murder because his partner was not welcome in his home.


Mr Macdonald told the court : “Then last Monday two police officers called at the house of this witness on whose fresh evidence we rely. “On my instructions it appears they forced their way into the house and proceeded to warn him that if he went to court he would be discredited.” The three appeal judges, Lord Chief Justice Declan Morgan and Lords Justices Higgins and Coghlin, were informed that letters of complaint were also to be sent to the Public Prosecution Service and the Law Society amid concerns that covert surveillance might have been used against the witness, his solicitor or both. Mr Macdonald described the application to adjourn the hearing as “suspicious to say the least”. Defence teams would have no faith in police carrying out an investigation into the issues raised because of the apparent conflict of interest, the barrister said. It was alleged that officers had been able to “arrest this witness and to subject him to pressure – we say improper pressure – with a view to securing the withdrawal of his evedence and therefore undermining the appeal”. Mr Macdonald called for a more independent oversight process. “I’m simply registering strong objection to the conduct that appears to have taken place here and flagging up our deep concerns at the prospect that police should be given more time to sabotage this appeal and put their case togeather,” he said. Following discussions Sir Declan confirmed that the hearing would be postponed until October.


Solicitors seek ‘independent’ investigators

SOLICITORS acting for Brendan McConville will ask a court to appoint “independent” investigators after the PSNI/RUC was accused of trying to “sabotage” his appeal. Kevin Winters last night said he would ask the Court of Appeal to allow the Criminal Cases Review Commission to oversee the PSNI/RUC investigation into a new witness in the case just days after that witness signed an affidavit for the defence team. This arrest was made after a surveillance operation that is understood to have focused on several people. It is beleived to be the first time a court in the North of Ireland will be asked to remove control of an investigation from the PSNI/RUC and hand it to the commission. Set up in 1997 the commission reviews possible miscarriages of justice.


Defence solicitors say it can oversee police investigations in certain circumstances. Mr Winters emphasised the need for an independant body to look at the matter. The police ombudsman’s office has also asked to probe the circumstances of the witness’s arrest. “We have concerns and they were highlighted in court about the manner in which the police have approached this and have written to the police ombudsman and in the strongest terms voiced our grave concerns,” Mr Winters said. The lawyer said he had also written to the Law Society and had asked the Public Prosecution Service to confirm it had offered direction or advice to the PSNI/RUC in relation to the arrest of witness M’s relative. A PSNI/RUC spokesman said : “Police inquiries into this matter are continuing and as such it would be inappropriate to comment any further.”

With many thanks to : Connia Young, Irish News.

The case of Brian Shivers

The Irish Law & Democracy Committee

In the last week Brian Shivers’ legal team launched his appeal into his conviction for the murder of two British soldiers outside Masserene Barracks. Due the nature of the proceedings, namely a Diplock trial, Brian Shivers has an automatic right of appeal. However his legal team have also stated the appeal is based on the fact that the trial judge erred in law by misdirecting himself, one of the many contradictions of a Diplock system of proceedings. His defence team have also stated that this appeal should be expidited due to the nature and severity of Brian Shivers’ medical condition. However, a fundamental question remains, why when Brian Shivers was granted bail prior to the trial, due to the conditions of confinement in Maghaberry and his existing life limiting condition, was he refused bail pending appeal as he would be living in those very same conditions that existed prior to the trial.

Moreover, on reading the verdict of the trial judge it becomes apparent that a number of issues are raised immendiately, initially surrounding the admissability of fundamental aspects of DNA evidence which was substantively covered in the Voire Dire and ruled admissable even though the same type of evidence had been refused to be admitted by the judiciary in English courts and this particular type of analysis has only been used, and subscribed to, in two states in the country of origin of its creator, the USA. Other issues remain around the conclusions made by the trial judge in respect of the knowledge and behaviour of Brian Shivers in respect of the allegations made against him leaving the reader concerned about the identification of fundamental legal principles.  This case has all the hallmarks of a miscarriage of justice and a conviction at all costs.

Meanwhile Brian Shivers is allegedly suffering serious mistreatment at the hands of the Prison regime in Maghaberry. It has been alleged that he was badly assaulted whilst on a medical visit in respect of his life limiting condition, in which he was refused the necessary confidential treatment by a doctor on the orders of prison guards who demanded they sit in whilst he consulted with his doctor, and was ultimately physically removed from. It has also been alleged that he has been repeatedly strip searched and beaten whilst leaving and re-entering Maghaberry prison. Like Brendan Lillis, Brian Shivers is suffering from medical neglect due to the oppressive conditions imposed on him by the prison regime in Maghaberry. His human rights appear to have been heavly engaged, under both article 2 which is the right to life and which the regime is risking due to his ill health and the conditions they are forcing him to endure, and in respect of article 3 which appear to have been contravened, as the ECHR states that ‘no one should be subject to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment’, which this treatment is tantamount to.

WITH MANY THANKS TO : The Irish Law & Democracy Committee



Gerry is expected to appear in court on Tuesday, February 28th when the judge hands down the decisions on both his Judicial Review and his Appeal. First decision will be on his Judicial Review approx. 9:30 am. The 2nd decision, with regard to his Appeal, will be handed down approx. 10:00 am.

We are asking for a massive turnout of supporters at the High court (old buildings opposite Laganside) by 9:00 am. Thank you

POSTED ON BEHALF OF :  Helen McClafferty

IRA convictions against husband and wife to be quashed

IRA convictions against husband and wife to be quashed

Scales of justice
The Court of Appeal was told that the guilty verdicts against the couple should be quashed

A husband and wife jailed for offences connected to the IRA interrogation and murder of a police informer appear set to have their convictions overturned.

James Martin and Veronica Ryan, from west Belfast, were both convicted of the false imprisonment of Joe Fenton.

Mr Fenton was a Special Branch agent shot dead after being lured to a house in the city in February 1989

The Court of Appeal was told that the prosecution accepts the guilty verdicts against the couple should be quashed.

Mr Martin, who was also found guilty of making property available for terrorism, was later sentenced to four years imprisonment.

His wife, formerly known as Veronica Martin, was jailed for six months.

Similar false imprisonment counts against the couple over the abduction of another informer, Sandy Lynch, in 1990 were overturned three years ago.

Matter of time

In an unprecedented move, the Criminal Cases Review Commission decided to refer separate convictions relating to the Fenton incident back to the Court of Appeal.

The body, set up to examine potential miscarriages of justice, refused to disclose the reasons for its decision.

But in court on Friday senior counsel for the prosecution confirmed its new position.

Gerry Simpson QC said: “The prosecution accepts that the convictions of these appellants should be quashed.”

One reason given was that all relevant material was not made available to the Director of Public Prosecutions, preventing him from properly considering whether Mr Martin and Ms Ryan should have faced charges.

Mr Simpson added: “The fact that such material was withheld from the director during the proceedings prevented the director from discharging the prosecution’s duty of disclosure, which had the capacity to affect the continuation or outcome of the proceedings.”

Although the court has not yet formally quashed the convictions, legal sources said the announcement by the prosecution meant it was only a matter of time.

A further hearing next month is expected to deal with any further disclosure being sought in the case.

Outside court Mr Martin and Ms Ryan’s solicitor, Kevin Winters, said they must now be given a full explanation.

“We welcome this second such decision. It is unprecedented that two separate cases like this stand to be dismissed on the same basis,” he said.

“The appellants are now entitled to know the reasons why they were subjected to what we say was a contrived prosecution.”

Mr Winters also vowed to press ahead with further proceedings, including compensation claims, following Friday’s developments.

With Many Thanks To : BBC News Northern Ireland.