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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 March 2006, 12:46 GMT
Republican will face kidnap trial
Maze Prison
Brendan McFarlane escaped from the Maze Prison in 1983
A republican is to go on trial over the kidnapping of a businessman in the Irish Republic more than 20 years ago.

The Court of Appeal in Dublin upheld an appeal by the DPP against a High Court order stopping Brendan McFarlane's trial going ahead.

McFarlane, from Jamaica Street in north Belfast, has been on bail since 1998 accused of falsely imprisoning Don Tidey in 1983.

McFarlane was one of 38 IRA prisoners who escaped from the Maze jail in 1983.

He was later caught in Amsterdam and extradited to Northern Ireland.

He was released on parole from the Maze in 1997.

McFarlane was arrested by gardai in 1998 and charged with the unlawful possession of a firearm and falsely imprisoning supermarket chief executive Don Tidy near Ballinamore, County Leitrim in 1983.

However, his trial collapsed after gardai lost items including a milk carton, a plastic container and a cooking pot - all of which, it was claimed, had his fingerprints on them.

The Director of Public Prosecutions appealed that decision and on Tuesday the Supreme Court by a four to one majority ruled that the former IRA member should face a retrial.

The presiding judge, Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman, said the result of the forensic analysis of the three missing items had been preserved and photographed allowing for independent and meaningful comparison of fingerprints.


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