Diplock conviction 'unsafe'

Almost 30 years after a teenager was jailed for being in the junior wing of the IRA, his conviction was overturned yesterday.

Paschal John Mulholland, now aged 46 and from Portadown, was mistreated in the custody of the RUC police and only made the admissions because he feared being tortured.

The appeals court ruled that the evidence of the medical officers who examined Mr Mulholland was "compelling and damning", and that the original non-jury trial conviction was "unsafe".

He served a year in borstal jail and it was not until 2000 that his case was taken up by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), the independent body set up to review suspected miscarriages of justice.

The ruling opens the way for other similar cases and subsequent compensation claims.


Francis Mackey, chairman of the 32 County Sovereignty Committee, and former IRA prisoner Marian Price have had trumped-up charges of taking part in an illegal parade dismissed.

The two were among 16 people who appeared before Derry Magistrates Court yesterday.

All the accused denied the charge and the case had been expected to last several days.

Crown prosecutors said the organisers of the Easter commemoration had failed to apply for the necessary permission for the event.

The PSNI man in charge of security at the parade admitted that people taking part may not have heard his shouted warnings that the march was illegal.

He said he spoke to a man "who had identified himself as one of the organisers", and the officer blamed the man for neglecting his "duty" to pass on his warnings.

The Resident Magistrate dismissed the charges.


The trial of Sean Hoey for his alleged role in the 1998 Omagh bombing by the Real IRA was adjourned before it even began last week because a key defence lawyer is ill.

London-based defence lawyer Orlando Pownall told Belfast Crown Court that although unwell, he was making the adjournment application himself "out of respect for this court and out of respect for my client".

Agreeing to the adjournment, Mr Justice Weir criticised the fact that only been made aware of the barrister's illness 24 hours previously.

The adjournment came as a heavy anti-climax to the huge media interest in the case.

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