Colin Duffy to stand trial
Colin Duffy to stand trial

An attempt to have the case against Colin Duffy and Brian Shivers dropped has been refused by a judge.

Mr Duffy, a prominent victim of state persecution in the North, continues to be held at Maghaberry jail pending trial on charges arising out of an IRA attack at Massereene British Army base in 2009.

Mr Shivers, from Magherafelt in County Tyrone, is facing charges in the same case, remains on continuing bail on medical grounds.

Delivering his ruling at Belfast Crown Court, Mr Justice McLaughlin said that taking the Crown evidence at it’s height, “the prosecution case...justifies putting the defendants on trial on all counts”.

Lawyers for both men had argued that the evidence against them was such that “no reasonable jury properly directed” could convict them and urged the judge to throw out the case. They argued that it was not possible to find out when alleged DNA evidence was obtained or from where, submitting that it did not point to their involvement in the attack.

Addressing the court pn Friday, Justice McLaughlin said that at this stage “it is inappropriate to carry out a detailed analysis of this evidence”.

“I am satisfied that the proper approach to adopt here is to allow these cases each to go to trial so that the process of detailed scrutiny may be completed,” said the judge.


Meanwhile, prisoners at Maghaberry were again placed on lockdown yesterday [Tuesday] following a reported disturbance at the controversial County Antrim jail. The move limits prisoners to one hour outside of their cells and prevents them from receiving visits.

Sinn Fein has this week called for the agreement reached between prisoners and the prison administration at Maghaberry last August to be implemented in full.

Sinn Féin’s Vice-Chair of the Assembly Justice Committee said his party had continuing concerns about the treatment of prisoners being held in Maghaberry by prison staff.

“It is important that prisoners’ rights are protected and that human rights are to the fore of the prison regime,” he said.

“Carál Ní Chuilín and myself have met with senior prison management on numerous occasions to outline our ongoing concerns about the situation in Roe House and in relation to the prison system overall.

He reiterated Sinn Féin’s position on the internment of Marian Price.

“The revoking of Marian Price’s licence is completely unacceptable,” he said.

“The move by Secretary of State Owen Paterson amounts to detention without trial. This runs contrary to natural justice. The justice system must be human rights based and the revoking of Marian Price’s licence is totally unacceptable.

“Sinn Féin raised our concerns on this issue with the British Secretary of State at the time of Marian Price’s arrest and will continue to do so in the interests of justice and the human rights of the individual.”

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