Thursday, December 17, 1998 Published at 11:53 GMT
Man wins IRA bomb appeal
Danny McNamee: Freed under Good Friday Agreement
Danny McNamee, who was found guilty of the IRA's 1982 Hyde Park bombing which killed four members of the Household Cavalry and seven horses, has won his appeal against his conviction.
But three Court of Appeal judges accepted that it might have made a difference had jurors known that many more prints from a known IRA bomb-maker were also on the bomb remains.
The Appeal Court judges said their decision that the conviction was unsafe did not mean that he was innocent of the charge.
Lord Justice Swinton Thomas said a "strong case" had been made at his 1987 trial that Mr McNamee was guilty of conspiracy to cause explosions.
However, he said the Court of Appeal could not say the jury at that trial would have reached the conclusion they did on Mr McNamee's guilt if the fresh evidence heard at the appeal hearing had been available to it.
He said: "Of course I'm vindicated. It's proved I was not guilty, even in a really grudging way."
Mr McNamee, 38, from Crossmaglen, South Armagh, was sentenced to 25 years in jail for his alleged part in the bombing.
He was released earlier this year from the Maze Prison in Northern Ireland after serving 12 years under the Good Friday Agreement on the political future of Northern Ireland.
But he claimed that one of the three prints claimed to be his on tape connected with the bomb-making equipment was not his.
At his trial he said his prints had got onto the equipment innocently because had had used the tape working at an electrical repair shop.
Mr McNamee's case was referred back to the Court of Appeal by the Criminal Cases Review Commission after inquiries into a number of issues, including disclosure of more fingerprint evidence at the time of his trial.
He said the Crown's case against Mr McNamee, involving a "thoroughly misleading cameo of connections" was "deeply flawed from the beginning".
Mr McNamee after the case that although he had already been freed from prison under the terms of the Good Friday peace deal it had been important to him to clear his name.
He confirmed that he would be seeking compensation but said the principle was more important than any money he might receive.
"It was important to show what had been done. The prosecution had presented a completely false case against me knowing it was false," he said.
He was asked how he felt about the 1982 Hyde Park bombing when he had learned of it.
He said: "I thought the same as everybody. It was a terrible atrocity and a sad loss for the families."