Belfast Telegraph

Defence team changed in Stephen Carroll murder case

A Lurgan mother facing charges arising out of the murder of Constable Stephen Carroll has been allowed to change her defence team.

Sharon Wootton (38) who denies perverting justice, was to have gone on trial on Wednesday with her son John Paul Wootton (19) both of Collingdale, Lurgan, and ex-Sinn Fein councillor Brendan McConville (39) from Tullygally. The men are charged with the murder of Constable Carroll in March 2009.

Trial judge Lord Justice Girvan told Wootton's defence QC Karin Quinlivan yesterday that “in all the circumstances, but not without any misgivings”, he’d allow the legal aid certificate amendment.

He said he was doing so “on the basis of the clear instruction given to the court” that the trial would start on its new scheduled date of January 9, the first day of the new Belfast Crown Court term.

Ms Quinlivan said that while she had not read all of the case papers contained in 70 lever-arch files, she had read the police interviews of Mrs Wootton, whom she described as “a vulnerable person”, and that the trial could properly start on time in the New Year.

Mrs Wootton denies perverting the course of justice on dates between 8 March, 2009 and 20 October, 2009.

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