Former top republican Danny Morrison’s conviction for kidnapping an alleged British agent was quashed today by the Court of Appeal.
Judges ruled that guilty verdicts against the ex-Sinn Fein director of publicity and seven related cases could no longer be regarded as safe.
The decision to overturn the convictions was based on a secret dossier supplied by the Criminal Cases Review Commission, which investigates suspected miscarriages of justice.
Defence teams have yet to see the confidential annex, but after studying it the Lord Chief Justice Sir Brian Kerr indicated his intention was to set out reasons at a later date.
He said: “There’s nothing in the papers that intrinsically militates against the delivery of an open judgment.”
Lawyers for the Public Prosecution Service, who decided not to stand over the guilty verdicts, confirmed they would be applying to stop any such disclosure.
Mr Morrison (55), who famously coined the republican twin-track strategy slogan, ‘the Armalite and the ballot box’, was sentenced to eight years imprisonment over the false imprisonment of Sandy Lynch by the IRA in Belfast in 1990.
Outside the court he expressed his delight with the outcome and the attitude of the judges.
He said: “We have always asserted that we were set up and I was lured to that house on a false basis.
“What was refreshing about what the judges have said, and it’s good in this new dispensation we are in, is that they were quite prepared to state the reasons contained in the secret annex for overturning our convictions. I think that’s very positive. My previous experience of the judiciary has not been a good one.”