Acquitted men ‘insufficiently innocent’ - Woodward

Former Sinn Fein publicity director Danny Morrison is unlikely to receive compensation for years spent in jail because he has not shown himself to be “demonstrably innocent”, according to the British government.

In October 2008, the Court of Appeal overturned Mr Morrison’s conviction along with six other people for the abduction of Special Branch police informer Sandy Lynch.

However, British Direct Ruler Shaun Woodward has claimed that Mr Morrison and the others have still not proven “beyond reasonable doubt” that a miscarriage of justice had taken place.

Mr Morrison was jailed for eight years in 1991 for false imprisonment.

At the trial, Mr Lynch said Freddie Scappaticci, later identified as British army double-agent ‘Stakeknife’, was his main interrogator.

In 2008, the case was referred back to the Court of Appeal but the reasons were not revealed because of “national [British] security” issues.

All seven convictions were quashed after finding that evidence had been withheld from the original trial which would have “almost certainly” led to their acquittals.

However, Woodward has now said those wrongly imprisoned are unlikely to receive compensation.

He said: “Clearly the applicants have had their conviction reversed as a result of a new or recently discovered fact.

“They have not yet, however, demonstrated that this has shown that beyond reasonable doubt there has been a miscarriage of justice in the sense that they are demonstrably innocent.”

Mr Morrison described the decision as “bizarre”,

“The appeal court and the Lord Chief Justice declared that had certain evidence in our case been disclosed there either would never have been a prosecution or that the trial would have collapsed or that we would have been acquitted. In other words, we’re innocent,” he said.

“Our convictions were overturned on the basis of this secret evidence. But now we are being told by the secretary of state to tell him what this secret evidence is in order to qualify for compensation - secret evidence that is in his possession but not ours.”

Morrison and the others are now to take legal proceedings against the PSNI, the British Ministry of Defence and the attorney general.

Civil proceedings will also be launched against Scappaticci.

Meanwhile, the infamous wet Belfast man is also facing a separate legal challenge -- The wife of yet another IRA Informer has launched a High Court bid for permission to name him as a co-defendant In her damages claim against the PSNI.

Mrs Keeley, whose husband is the former MI5 agent/informer known as Kevin Fulton, claims that in 1994, she was Interrogated by a number of IRA men as well as Scappaticci.

She has now issued proceedings against the PSNI (then RUC) and Scappaticci for alleged wrongful arrest and false imprisonment.

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