Irish Republican News · January 31, 2015
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Top QC backs the Craigavon Two
Top QC backs the Craigavon Two

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A high profile lawyer who represented the Guildford Four and Birmingham Six has said he believes that two County Armagh men are the victims of a miscarriage of justice.

Michael Mansfield QC made the remarks after speaking at a memorial lecture for Gerry Conlon, who wrongly convicted of the 1974 Guildford pub bombings.

The case of the Craigavon Two was raised during a discussion chaired by the SDLP’s Alex Attwood in west Belfast last week.

Brendan McConville was sentenced to 25 years in prison after he was convicted of murder. His co-accused John Paul Wootton was told he will have to serve a minimum of 14 years behind bars but this was later raised to 18 years. Both men deny any part in the Continuity IRA sniper attack in March 2009.

Gerry Conlon was the chairman of a committee set up to campaign on their behalf before his death. He spent 15 years in jail before his conviction was quashed in 1989. He died last June aged 60 after battling ill-health.

As well as being involved in high-profile miscarriage of justice of cases, Mr Mansfield has represented the families of black teenager Stephen Lawrence and families involved in the Hillsborough inquest which is ongoing.

He paid tribute to Gerry Conlon, who he said had left a lasting legacy in opening the eyes of the world to injustice and how people can spark change “however big or small.. and however big the odds”.

He warned that there more “Gerry Conlons” in British jails, and said the Craigavon case was an example.

“If the authorities dont want the truth to come out they will mask it,” he said.

“There is nothing more particular about it [the Craigavon 2] than any of the other miscarriages and the same features appear in all these things.

“I think the problem is there are so many of them. There should be a general enquiry about more than Craigavon.”

Angela Nelson said the comments by the respected QC had reinvigorated the Craigavon Two campaign which she chairs.

She said: “I’m delighted to see someone of that status having the courage to stand up publicly saying what we know, that these two men have been wrongly convicted and are victims of a miscarriage of justice.

“I hope others have the courage he’s shown. The time for sitting on the fence is long gone. His support has given the campaign the energy to continue, someone so highly respected in the legal profession has publicly declared this a miscarriage of justice.”

© 2015 Irish Republican News