Belfast Telegraph

Former boxer Eamonn Magee loses legal bid to have sentence of son’s killer increased

By Alan Erwin

Former boxing champion Eamonn Magee has failed in an eleventh-hour legal bid to have the sentence handed down to his son's murderer reviewed.

His lawyers yesterday challenged the Public Prosecution Service for not referring the minimum 14-year jail term imposed on Orhan Koca for the knife killing of Eamonn Magee Jr back to the Court of Appeal.

But a judge rejected claims that the authority acted unreasonably in deciding there were no grounds for appeal.

Mr Magee said he was bitterly disappointed with the High Court ruling. The former Commonwealth light-welterweight champion insisted that the killer, who he likened to a "hit man", had received a lenient sentence.

Earlier this year, Turkish national Koca (34), of no fixed address, admitted the murder of his estranged wife's new boyfriend.

Mr Magee Jr (22), himself a rising star in the boxing world, was stabbed to death at Twinbrook, west Belfast in May 2015.

Koca had been motivated by jealousy when he armed himself, went to his family home and inflicted six wounds on the engineering student, according to the trial judge. He was said to have been possessive of his ex-partner, becoming aggressive if she attracted attention from other men.

She had formed a new relationship with the victim after they met at a gym where he worked as a personal trainer.

Lawyers for Mr Magee Sr issued legal proceedings after being told the case was not being referred back to the Court of Appeal. They secured an urgent hearing at the High Court in Belfast just before the deadline for lodging papers to challenge the sentence.

Barrister Ronan Lavery QC, instructed by MSM Law, argued that the prison term was irrational, unduly lenient and should be re-examined by the PPS.

He also questioned the extent of consultation with victims' relatives in general.

Director of Public Prosecutions Barra McGrory is understood to have studied representations on behalf of the Magee family before reaffirming the decision not to seek a referral.

Dismissing the application for judicial review, a judge backed the PPS position.

He also noted that the authority had considered the family's views.

Outside court, however, Mr Magee claimed Koca should have received up to 20 years behind bars.

With a potential further challenge to the Supreme Court effectively ruled-out, the boxer pledged to try to put the case behind him.

He added: "It may enable me to move on with my life, but I just feel the justice system has let me down."

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