Belfast Telegraph

Duo were wrongly convicted of terrorism offences, court rules

By Alan Erwin

Two men who admitted to terrorism offences as teenagers more than 30 years ago were not safely convicted, the Court of Appeal has ruled.

Judges decided that confessions made in custody by Stephen McCaul, a Belfast man who has since died, and Peter McDonald were both unreliable.

Mr McDonald, from Londonderry, will now be seeking compensation, his lawyer confirmed.

But similar appeals in cases involving two other Derry men, James Brown and Eric Wright, were dismissed, with their solicitor vowing to go to the Supreme Court in a bid to clear their names.

All four signed admission statements during police interviews when they were aged 15 or 16 during the 1970s — none of them had access to a solicitor or were accompanied by a parent.

Delivering judgment, Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan said of Mr McDonald’s case: “We conclude that these convictions were not safe.”

The challenge brought in the case of Mr McCaul and continued by his father following his death in 1995 was also allowed.

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