Recycling the news…

THE wheels of justice turn slowly, so perhaps it wasn’t surprising that it took over a year for the Court Service to get around to publishing the result of Paschal Mulholland’s successful appeal against a wrongful conviction in the 1970s. Reported as an exclusive on Daily Ireland’s front page yesterday, the story was covered contemporaneously in the Tele last June… Ah, well, it’s the silly season… (although I was guilty of a similar blunder a few years ago meself!)

  • Mick Fealty

    I also note how irritating the Tele’s archive lock is. Nearly as bad as the shifting sands that is the DI’s archiving system, where the URLs seem to shift after a day or two as they bed down into the archive.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Just for you Mick…

    Man wins epic fight to clear his name
    IRA youth conviction is quashed
    By Jonathan McCambridge
    09 June 2005

    A Belfast man last night spoke of his 27-year battle to clear his name after he was wrongfully convicted of being a member of the junior wing of the IRA in 1977.

    Pascal Mulholland finally had his conviction quashed this week at the Appeal Court after the case was taken up by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC).

    Mulholland was arrested on October 17, 1976, at the age of 16 and questioned for two days without an adult or a solicitor present.

    At midnight on October 18, he signed a confession admitting membership of Fianna na hEireann and a petrol bombing offence.

    At his trial the following year the judge accepted alibi evidence from his mother on the petrol bombing charge but convicted him for membership. He was in custody for a year.

    The CCRC referred the case back to the Court of Appeal in 2003 on the basis that the circumstances of his detention and interview were oppressive and there were concerns about the absence of a solicitor or an adult.

    The CCRC also investigated disciplinary records for the two police officers who had interviewed Mulholland. They found they had been involved in a murder investigation in which a suspect claimed to have been physically assaulted.

    The murder charge was withdrawn and the defendant was paid £4,000 damages in a civil action.

    The Court of Appeal ruled this week that there had been a clear breach of the judges’ rules applicable to the detention of young persons and that the credibility of the two interviewing officers had been undermined.

    Mr Mulholland said: “I have lived with this wrongful conviction since 1977. I am delighted with this result, it is just a pity that I had to serve a year in custody and wait 27 years for this result.”

    Patricia Coyle of Harte Coyle Collins solicitors, who represented Mulholland, said: “This is a very important judgement. It demonstrates that the behaviour and credibility of police officers in other cases may be relevant to unrelated defence cases.

    “Our client will now be considering his remedies in respect of the time he served in custody as a young man.”

    * * *

    Aside from your own complaints, I couldn’t find this story using the Tele’s search engine, which didn’t even list the story in a search for ‘Mulholland’.

    Google found it no problem…

    Many newspapers seem to have rubbish search engines.