Court cash battle by wrongly jailed men
Northern Ireland's most senior judges have been urged to order that compensation be awarded to two men whose convictions for terrorist offences were quashed after more than 30 years.
Joseph Fitzpatrick, from Belfast and Terence Shiels, from Londonderry, who pleaded guilty as teenagers, want to overturn a High Court ruling that they are not entitled to payouts.
If their appeal is successful it could open the floodgates to a series of applications stretching to the 1970s. They launched legal action after being denied compensation, with their lawyers arguing that Justice Minister David Ford mistakenly decided no miscarriage of justice was established.
In November last year their judicial review applications were dismissed because there was no "new or newly discovered fact".
A panel of judges in the Court of Appeal, led by Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan, was told the issue was treated wrongly.
Karen Quinlivan QC argued a fact may be newly discovered if it is revealed in court on appeal – even if a defendant may have known it all along.