Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Hollands still have concerns after meeting UK’s law chief

The family of murdered west Belfast man Harry Holland have welcomed an agreement by the Attorney General to “reflect” on their concerns about the handling of the case but added that questions still needed to be answered.

The comments were made following a meeting between the Holland family and Baroness Scotland yesterday to discuss the sentences handed down to those involved in his murder.

Mr Holland (65) was stabbed in the head with a screwdriver near his home in September 2007.

In August, Baroness Scotland agreed to meet Mr Holland’s family after she turned down a request to review the sentences given to his killers.

Earlier this year 18-year-old Stephen McKee from Ballymurphy Road was told he must serve at least 12 years of a life sentence. Patrick Crossan (19) was sentenced to four years for attempted affray and having an offensive weapon. He served two years in jail.

A 17-year-old girl was placed on a probation order for two years after she admitted charges of affray and common assault

During the meeting Mr Hollan’s family voiced concern about how the PPS handled the case.

They also said they were concerned at how the charges against two of those involved were reduced.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, who accompanied the Holland family, said both Baroness Scotland and the PPS “accepted the need for greater transparency within the judicial system and in particular how it engages with victims and their families”.

“We intend to follow up on this,” Mr Adams said. Speaking after the meeting, Mr Holland’s daughter Sarah Holland said there were still questions they want answers to regarding the case.

“We sat for an hour with the top legal team including the Attorney General and whilst we were pleased with her agreement to reflect on the case, we still left without straight answers to the questions we had.”

Background

Father-of-four Harry Holland died after he was stabbed in the head with a screwdriver while trying to stop a gang stealing his delivery van in September 2007.

Neighbours found him gravely injured on the street outside his home.

He died shortly after being admitted to hospital.

The family launched a stinging attack on the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) after murder charges against a 19-year-old and a teenage girl were dropped.

The family held a rally at Belfast City Hall calling for tougher sentences.

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