We’ll not find out now whether there was sufficient evidence to convict Mo Courtney of murdering UDA feud victim Alan McCullough. In the High Court today the Crown prosecution accepted his plea of guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter stating – “The Crown accepts that the evidential problems arising from the circumstances justifies the acceptance of a plea to manslaughter.” Those evidential problems led Mr Justice McLaughlin to rule, in November last year, that “[He] could not properly convict the accused of the murder”. A ruling which was overturned by the Appeal Court in January. [move along now? – Ed]From the UTV report
[Prosecution QC Geoffrey] Millar told Mr Justice Deeny the Crown were accepting his guilty plea on the basis that Courtney “was the person who picked up and brought the deceased to the Aughnabrack Road on the evening of May 28 2003” – the place where his partially buried was uncovered a week later.
However the lawyer added: “The Crown does not make the case that the defendant shot Alan McCullough.
“The defendant… has indicated that he would make the case that he did not know that a person at the scene intended to kill Mr McCullough but that he did contemplate that a punishment shooting in the form of a kneecapping would take place.
“The Crown accepts that the evidential problems arising from the circumstances justifies the acceptance of a plea to manslaughter.”