Irish Republican News · October 24, 2010
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Legal development delays Duffy ruling

A new submission by lawyers acting for Colin Duffy forced a judge to postpone a decision on whether he should stand trial for the Real IRA attack on Massereene British Army base in March of last year.

The County Armagh man, and his co-accused Brian Patrick Shivers from County Derry, were due to hear whether they would be sent for crown court trial.

The prosecution case against the two defendants is based on DNA evidence allegedly found in a partially burnt out Vauxhall Cavalier getaway car used in the attack.

However, in Coleraine Magistrates' Court yesterday, a barrister for Duffy presented an authority court -- a ruling in a separate case in a highercourt -- that undermined the prosecution argument.

He said the Court of Appeal decision had quashed the conviction of a defendant who had been found guilty on DNA evidence of better quality than that presented against his client.

A lawyer representing Shivers, who is out on bail, said the submission reinforced his view that the case against his client was also weak. Mr Connors, who was due to rule last week after reviewing submissions presented in a three-day preliminary investigation hearing earlier this month, acknowledged that the judgment was relevant in both men's cases.

"On reading it, it is a very significant case and is a matter the crown have to address and I think it is proper that they have proper time to do it," he said.

Duffy's barrister had argued that a delay was not necessary and the prosecution could have made its submission in response to the four-page judgment yesterday.

Last week, Mr Duffy was forcefully strip searched in Maghaberry prison in County Antrim ahead of court appearances. His lawyers have confirmed that he was assaulted, both physically and sexually, by prison warders.

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