“In these regretful circumstances I offer no evidence in this case against the accused…”

In a short report on the collapse of the trial of a 20-year-old man charged with the murder of Emmet Shiels in Londonderry in June 2008, the BBC notes

Emmet Shiels’ murder shocked the city, and brought a thousand people onto the streets in condemnation.

Along with editorials and a controversial petition, too…  The trial collapsed when the prosecution offered no evidence.  The BBC report doesn’t explain any further, but the Belfast Telegraph report does

At the time of the murder the Independent Monitoring Commission blamed the INLA for the killing, saying Mr Shiels was shot going to the assistance of another person being targeted by the paramilitary group.

The INLA denied being involved.

Yesterday prosecution barrister Terence Mooney QC said that no evidence would be offered in the case because a “great number” of prosecution witnesses would not attend court.

He said “they were reluctant to attend court for various reasons”.

“By last Friday it became apparent to me that a tipping point had been reached,” he said.

He added that following a review of the evidence over the course of the weekend he had come to a conclusion not to proceed with the case.

“In these regretful circumstances I offer no evidence in this case against the accused.”

Not that intimidation, assuming that was one of the “various reasons”, was a one-way street in this case.

But if we “happen to give a damn about the kind of society we live in…”

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  • This demonstrates clearly that we still have quite a ways to go to shake off the fear induced in many people in many areas by their “protectors”. It’s sad but, as we have seen too often, people do need to be wary about their own personal safety.

    Here in Canada, in a few cases of husbands violently attacking their wives, and the wife has gone to the police and later refused to testify, the wife has been charged with something or other and, in one case at least, was jailed. That drew a huge public uproar and the practice has been discontinued I believe.
    The prosecution is in a no win situation.

  • “people do need to be wary about their own personal safety”

    Just to take that a step further, Joe, the media – old and new – needs to think twice before it reveals the identity of those who might be vulnerable to attack.

  • aquifer

    And useless murdering criminals may not even get targetted by MI5.