The son of murdered INLA chief Dominic McGlinchey has been cleared of four charges relating to the making and possessing of a command wire improvised device.
Declan McGlinchey (33) from Gulladuff Road, Bellaghy, was formally acquitted yesterday of the charges by Belfast Crown Court judge Mr Justice Gillen, sitting in the High Court. Mr Justice Gillen directed verdicts of not guilty after an application by prosecuting QC Ciaran Murphy.
McGlinchey had gone to court to apply for a variation in his bail conditions only to learn of the decision of the Public Prosecution Service not to offer any evidence in the Diplock, non-jury case against him. Crown lawyer Mr Murphy explained to the court that the PPS keeps all cases “under continuing review” as decisions to prosecute are based “on the available evidence”.
“In preparation for trial, consultations took place with the forensic witness. As a result of this consultation, and having carefully considered the evidence as it presently stands, together with the advice of counsel, the PPS has concluded that the evidence is not sufficient to connect the accused to the device which is the subject of this indictment,” said Mr Murphy.
He added that the “evidential test for prosecution is no longer met. In those circumstances I am instructed to offer no evidence”.
Mr Murphy said therefore Mr McGlinchey was entitled to be “found not guilty in relation to each count”. Asked by Mr Justice Gillen what order the PPS was asking the court to make, Mr Murphy replied that verdicts of “not guilty” be entered, which the judge said he would then “so order”.
McGlinchey faced a total of four explosives charges, two of making a command wire improvised explosive device, with intent, and under suspicious circumstances, and two of possessing the device, again with intent and under suspicious circumstances, all between January 17, 2006, and July 3 that year.
In a highly critical statement from Mr McGlinchey's solicitor Niall Murphy of Kevin Winters & Co, the initial prosecution and charging of the Co Derry man was not only attacked, but the evidential basis for it also.
The Belfast solicitor contended that Mr McGlinchey's case proved, as had others, that evidence based on all forms of Low Template DNA were “now dead ...... and not sufficient for prosecution purposes”.
Mr Murphy contended had Mr McGlinchey lived in England “he would never have been charged” as all of the authorities there “dictate that prosecutions should not be undertaken with this type of evidence alone”.
Declan McGlinchey, he said, was first charged in October 2006, and since then “has suffered a great deal of personal and professional hardship as a result of this inherently flawed prosecution”.
Mr Murphy claimed that “the evidential value of the species of science, which has had many different names and packages, is now dead in terms of its value as incriminatory criminal evidence in our courts”.
“The re-packaging of the names of these types of evidence for legal and scientific expediency never enhanced the quality of the evidence, and this has now been proved,” declared Mr Murphy.
“It is astounding in this 21st century that people prosecuted in Ireland do not benefit from the same legal protections as afforded to people living in England.”