Gerry McGeough found guilty of 1981 murder bid

The BBC reports the verdict in the trial of Gerry McGeough for the attempted murder of a part-time UDR soldier [who was working as a postman at the time of the attack] in June 1981.  From the BBC report

Gerry McGeough, who was arrested in 2007, was convicted of trying to kill Samuel Brush, who is now a DUP councillor in Dungannon.

McGeough was also found guilty of possessing firearms with intent and holding IRA membership.

Vincent McAnespie, who was also standing trial, was acquitted of the charges against him.

Adds  From the UTV report

The judge acquitted McAnespie of all charges because the only evidence against him had come from a husband and wife who claimed they had seen him shortly after the shooting when he told them he had hidden the guns in a house but warned them they were “under threat not to tell”.

However the couple, who were themselves suspects at one time, did not give evidence in the trial, which lasted from March to November last year.

We previously learned that a charge of attempted murder against McAnespie, a Sinn Féin party member and husband of a Sinn Féin councillor, was dropped following the withdrawal of two witness statements.

[Prosecuting lawyer, David Reid] said two witness were recently revisited by police and made statements but within two days other people came to see them on four separate occasions and, while no open threat was made, they were left in no doubt that they were to withdraw their statements.

“The threat was implied and the elderly witnesses were left in a very frightened state,” Mr Reid said.

“Later one of them was out shopping and was called a traitor.”

The UTV report also adds

The judge adjourned passing sentence until next month when pre-sentence probation and medical reports have been compiled but as was indicated by the defence McGeough may only serve two years in custody under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

Update  NI Crown Court judgement available here.

And  According to a separate BBC report

[The Sinn Fein MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone Michelle Gildernew] said the prosecution “should not have happened” because the offence happened before the Belfast Agreement.

Mr McGeough’s barrister told the court he expected his client to be released within two years.

Ms Gildernew said that Mr McGeough should be released and allowed to return to his family in County Tyrone.

“It is clear that an anomaly has arised around some of these historical cases – a fact acknowledged by the British Government some time ago along with a commitment to rectify the situation.”

Is that the Sinn Féin position on all those “historical cases”?