Shivers appeals Massereene conviction

Brian Shivers has launched an urgent appeal against his wrongful conviction for the 2009 Real IRA attack at Massereene British Army base.

In light of his terminal illness -- Mr Shivers suffers from cystic fibrosis and has only a few years to live -- his lawyers have sought to speed up the appeal.

Last month, the judge in the case accepted that Mr Shivers did not take part in the actual attack. However, based on DNA evidence from a matchstick, he concluded the Derry man must have, at a later point, set fire to the getaway car.

Deciding that Mr Shivers had “played a prominent and essential role” in the attack, Justice Hart later sentenced him to 25 years in jail for murder.

Shivers’s solicitor, Niall Murphy, of Kevin Winters law firm, confirmed that an appeal against his conviction had been lodged this week.

“We have further petitioned the Court of Appeal that it should be listed with as much expedition as is possible given our client’s severe medical condition,” he said.

“We have petitioned the court in our grounds of appeal that the trial judge erred in law by misdirecting himself.

“Mr Shivers was wrongly convicted and punished since no conduct of his could constitute the offences of which he has been convicted.”

Meanwhile, prominent republican Colin Duffy has said he is still unsure why he was charged in the case. He was begrudgingly cleared of involvement by Justice Hart last month.

He had been arrested at the same time Dominic McGlinchey and other prominent republican activists were detained in regard to the attack.

He said: “I’ve no facts as to why they came for me.

“It’s no secret that I had been supporting Dominic McGlinchey previously down at the courts when he was facing other charges.

“I was a member of eirigi and so was Dominic. But how they went from that to equate me with something that happened in Antrim with living in County Armagh, I don’t know.

“Whether they looked at Dominic and seen it in the context of that or they just rounded people up, I don’t know.

“It seemed to be a big trawl. All shades of republicans were arrested in relation to it. I mean, I had no connection with Brian Shivers at all.”

A long-standing target for the PSNI and formerly the RUC, Mr Duffy was previously jailed for an IRA attack on a British soldier in 1993. That conviction was overturned with the help of human rights lawyer Rosemary Nelson, who was assassinated by a loyalist death squad in 1999.

She had been under surveillance and her work with Mr Duffy had led to her receiving abuse and threats from members of the RUC police

Speaking for the first time about the findings of a recent inquiry into her death, the Lurgan republican said his opinion that there had been Crown force collusion in her murder had not changed.

“I’ve always been of the belief that there was collusion in Rosemary’s death and haven’t changed my opinion whatever any report says,” Mr Duffy said.

“She was very good at her job championing human rights and that paralleled her with the Gareth Peirces of this world.

“Solicitors come and go and to some you were just another number. I was lucky that she had fewer political cases and was establishing herself as a practising solicitor.”

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