Page last updated at 20:10 GMT, Friday, 27 June 2008 21:10 UK

McCartney sisters in justice vow

Robert McCartney
Robert McCartney was beaten and stabbed to death three years ago

The sisters of murder victim Robert McCartney have said their fight for justice will go on.

They were speaking after Terence Davison, 51, was acquitted of the murder and two other men were cleared of charges connected to the killing.

Mr McCartney, 33, was beaten and stabbed outside Magennis's bar near Belfast city centre on 30 January 2005.

His sisters again accused Sinn Fein and the IRA of obstructing efforts to bring their brother's killers to justice.

They said "from day one (they) have obstructed the course of justice and continue to do so".

Catherine McCartney said: "We believe there is still a body of evidence out there that can still be brought forward and we expect Sinn Fein to do what they say they can do, despite their having refused to do so up to date.

"Despite saying to the police they would co-operate they have not co-operated whatsoever."

However, she vowed: "It's not over."

Speaking outside court, she said the family was "very disappointed but not surprised" by the verdicts.

"We didn't have very high expectations. Given the evidence, I believe that the judge's verdict was correct," she said.

The case came to world prominence over claims of IRA involvement in the killing and his sisters' and partner's campaigning.

Ms McCartney said: "Robert's murder has become an embarrassment to the British and Irish governments.

"There's still evidence out there"

"The police have a wealth of information, a wealth of intelligence but can turn none of it into evidence because people refuse to come forward and stand in a court."

A Sinn Fein spokesman said the party "had consistently supported the McCartney family in their campaign for justice.

"We have urged people with any information to bring it forward to the PSNI and will continue to do so."


Mr Davison was also cleared of two counts of affray.

His co-accused James McCormick, 39, and Joseph Fitzpatrick, 47, were also found not guilty of affray. Mr Fitzpatrick was acquitted on a further charge of assault.

The judge said that he understood the family of Mr McCartney "will be frustrated and disappointed that whoever it was who cut this young man down in the prime of his life has or have not been brought to justice".

"However, the memory of Mr McCartney and the rule of law itself would be ill-served by this court failing to observe the high standards of criminal justice and the burden of proof which prevail in courts in Northern Ireland," he said.

The judge warned the three acquitted men that they could yet be brought back to court if more evidence emerged.

"I have no doubt that the investigation into this crime will continue and if new evidence emerges in connection with this murder no-one, including for that matter even the accused in this trial, will be beyond the reach of potential prosecution," he added.

"If anything, the judgement reinforces the fact that the police service needs the support of the community if justice is to be served
Kevin Dunwoody of the PSNI

Much of the evidence against Mr Davison and his co-accused centred on that of a woman known only as Witness C during the trial.

The judge said that she was "transparently honest" and courageous to give evidence but he said he found flaws in that evidence and was not satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that she had seen what she believed she had seen.

Detective Superintendent Kevin Dunwoody, who was senior investigating officer on the case, said he was sorry his team's investigation did not secure a conviction.

"It certainly was not for a lack of effort on our part. Those who did not co-operate with us and those who worked to frustrate and thwart our investigation can answer for themselves," he said.

"Police now need time to consider the judgement and reflect. We will consider our investigative options and we will do that promptly and professionally.

"If anything, the judgement reinforces the fact that the police service needs the support of the community if justice is to be served."

Spotlight on McCartney trial
27 Jun 08 |  Northern Ireland

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific