Sinn Féin’s former publicity director Danny Morrison is set to have his conviction for false imprisonment overturned amid secretive legal moves to conceal the truth in the case.
In 1991 Mr Morrison was arrested for the false imprisonment of the IRA informer and RUC police Special Branch agent, Sandy Lynch.
Lynch was being questioned by two IRA members -- one of whom was later accused of being a Special Branch agents, so-called ‘Stakeknife’ Freddie Scappaticci.
Mr Morrison was led to the house in order to organise a press conference in which the informer was set to admit his activities. Instead, he was arrested for kidnapping in a Special Branch sting operation.
Despite evidence of entrapment, Morrison was convicted and sentenced to eight years in jail. He was eventually released from prison in 1995 and went on to became a well-known writer and columnist.
Earlier this year Mr Morrison and co-accused Gerard Hodgins had their cases referred back to the Court of Appeal by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), which investigates miscarriages of justice.
However, in a highly unusual move the commission refused to explain its reasons for referring either man’s case back to the Court of Appeal. It is presumed that this is due to the role of Special Branch agents in the entrapment.
Instead a sealed envelope containing the commission’s reasons was presented to the Court of Appeal, but reportedly never opened.
Only the commission, the British government and the Crown Prosecution Service are believed to be aware of the reasons for Mr Morrison’s conviction being referred back to the appeal court.
All previous attempts by Mr Morrison and Mr Hodgins to have their convictions overturned were rejected by the courts.
However, last Friday Crown prosecutors suddenly abandoned the case, and unexpectedly informed the Court of Appeal that it would not oppose the latest appeal.
The two men are expected to have their convictions officially overturned at a hearing on October 3.
Mr Morrison’s solicitor Barra McGrory said: “We will be seeking disclosure of the reasons why the CCRC has sought to have these convictions overturned.”
It is expected that Mr Morrison will now sue the British government for malicious prosecution and wrongful imprisonment.
Mr McGrory added that Mr Morrison could only properly consider such an action only once they had uncovered the commission’s reasons for referring his case back to the Court of Appeal.