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Trial of two veterans accused of IRA chief homicide collapses


wo former paratroopers accused of the homicide of an Official IRA chief have been formally acquitted after prosecutors supplied no additional proof at their trial.

The veterans’ trial at Belfast Crown Court docket collapsed after the Public Prosecution Service confirmed it will not attraction in opposition to a choice by Mr Justice O’Hara to exclude statements given by the ex-soldiers in regards to the capturing of Joe McCann in 1972.

It was the primary trial in a number of years that concerned prices in opposition to former army personnel who served within the Northern Eire battle.

Choices to prosecute have been taken in 4 different circumstances involving veterans, whereas choices are pending in three others.

The PPS has defended its determination to take the prosecution in opposition to troopers A and C, however has mentioned it would assess whether or not the choose’s ruling will have an effect on the opposite army circumstances earlier than the courts.

Mr McCann, 24, was shot lifeless by paratroopers as he tried to evade arrest by a plain clothed police officer within the Markets Space of Belfast in April 1972.

The trial opened final Monday and heard a full day of proof.

It then moved right into a separate voir dire listening to to find out whether or not statements and interviews given by the ex-soldiers, who are actually of their 70s, could be admissible as proof.

On Friday, Mr Justice O’Hara dominated that the troopers’ proof couldn’t be admitted.

Joe McCann homicide trial / PA Media

With the PPS having conceded the fabric was the one proof earlier than the court docket that could possibly be used to show the troopers fired at Mr McCann, its determination to not attraction in opposition to the choose’s ruling means the case couldn’t proceed.

After the prosecution confirmed it will be presenting no additional proof within the case, choose Mr Justice O’Hara informed the defendants: “Within the circumstances Mr A and C I formally discover you not responsible of the cost of homicide.”

Moments later the 2 accused, wearing fits and ties, walked from the court docket.

After Tuesday’s brief listening to, attorneys for the troopers demanded an “pressing unbiased overview” of the PPS’s dealing with of the case.

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