Irish Republican News · June 4, 2009
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: McIlveen sentences ‘reasonable’ - ruling
McIlveen sentences ‘reasonable’ - ruling
mcilveens.jpg

The family of the Catholic schoolboy Michael McIlveen have said they are “devastated” at a ruling that the jail terms given to his killers were not too lenient.

The sectarian murder victim died from head injuries after being kicked and beaten with a baseball bat in a Ballymena alleyway in May 2006.

His family had expressed outrage at the sentencing and the Public Prosecution Service referred the case to the Attorney General’s Office.

Four men convicted of the 15-year-old’s murder received “mandatory life sentences” and were told by a judge they must serve only between 10 and 13 years before being considered for release.

A fifth person, 18-year-old Christopher McLeister, got a suspended sentence after being found guilty of manslaughter.

Earlier this week Michael’s mother, Gina, handed a petition with more than 4,000 signatures to a representative for the Attorney General calling for “life to mean life”. But he declared that the sentences “fall within the range of sentence that it was reasonable for the judge to impose”.

Last night Michael’s uncle said the family had been devastated by the ruling and all they could do now was “try and get on with our lives”.

Fra McIlveen said his sister, Gina, had “pinned her hopes” on the case being referred to the Court of Appeal where the sentences given to her son’s killers might have been increased.

“There doesn’t seem to be justice for Michael,” he said.

“She got all those signatures for a petition and handed them in, but for what? For nothing. It didn’t make an ounce of difference.”

STONEYFORD CONVICTION

Three loyalists have been convicted for their part in an attack on a television crew reporting on the sectarian intimidation of nationalist families in the Co Antrim village of Stoneyford.

Alan Scott, David Campbell and Colin Smyth were before the court in Lisburn for their part in a disturbance in Stoneyford in March last year when a group of loyalists tried to disrupt a BBC Spotlight interview with Sinn Féin’s Paul Butler, about a series of sectarian attacks in the village.

The crew were jostled and spat at. Their vehicle was attacked by the mob, who also tried to steal a television camera. The incident was captured on camera and subsequently broadcast.

All three pleaded guilty to using threatening and abusive behaviour to provoke a breach of the peace and disorderly behaviour.

The convictions carried no actual sentence, other than binding the men to the peace, but they were nevertheless seen as a historic breakthrough by Sinn Féin.

“This is the first time that anyone has ever been convicted for loyalist intimidation in Stoneyford,” said Mr Butler.

“It sends an important message that the PSNI is not going to tolerate loyalists intimidating nationalist families in Stoneyford.”

© 2009 Irish Republican News