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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 February 2007, 11:47 GMT
Murder convictions ruled unsafe
Scales of justice
Two Derry republicans found guilty of murder in 1979 have had their convictions quashed.

Raymond McCartney and Eamonn MacDermott were convicted of murdering RUC officer Patrick McNulty. Mr McCartney was found guilty of murdering Jeffrey Agate.

The judge said: "In both cases we are left with a distinct feeling of unease about the safety of their convictions, based as they were on admissions.

"The convictions must therefore be quashed," he told the Court of Appeal.

Both men denied any involvement in the murders and said they were brutalised in police custody and that confessions were fabricated.

The cases were referred to the appeal court after an investigation by the Criminal Cases Review Commission in 2002.

Detective Constable McNulty was shot by the IRA as he left his car for servicing at a garage on Strand Road in the city.

A week later, DuPont managing director Jeffrey Agate was shot dead by the IRA outside his Talbot Park home.

Mr McCartney spent 17 years in prison. During that time he became the IRA's officer commanding in the Maze and spent 53 days on hunger strike.

Eamonn MacDermott spent 15 years in prison and has worked for the Derry Journal for the last ten years.

Speaking outside court, Mr McCartney said: "This is vindication for all those who took to the streets and marched on behalf of prisoners at that particular time.

"This has to be set in the context of RUC interrogation techniques in Strand Road and Castlereagh and it also highlights the willingness of Diplock courts to take confession-type statements and send republicans to jail."




SEE ALSO
Murder cases sent to appeal court
20 Jan 06 |  Northern Ireland



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