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Padraig McShane has disorderly behaviour conviction quashed following High Court challenge

Published 09/09/2016

Councillor Padraig McShane
Councillor Padraig McShane

An independent republican councillor has won a legal battle to have his conviction for disorderly behaviour quashed.

On Friday the High Court was told that prosecutors are no longer continuing with the case against Padraig McShane.

Mr McShane, 44, had been fined over an incident where he allegedly threatened to shove a glass bottle down the throat of the husband of a TUV rival.

He was accused of threatening violence during a meeting of the former Moyle District Council in Ballycastle in 2012.

Stephen McKillop, whose wife Sharon represented the TUV on the local authority, claimed Mr McShane had threatened to split him with a bottle of water.

Another witness also alleged that the republican councillor had turned to Mr McKillop in the public gallery.

She claimed Mr McShane, of Whitehall Avenue in Ballycastle, threatened to shove the bottle down his throat if he didn't shut up.

Mr McShane always denied the charge, claiming the allegations were part of a vendetta against him.

The councillor, who was later elected to the new Causeway Coast and Glens Council, was originally found guilty of disorderly behaviour at Coleraine Magistrates' Court.

His appeal against conviction was rejected at Antrim County Court, although £500 fine imposed was reduced to £100.

He then issued legal action over the lawfulness of the criminal process.

The challenge centred on the alleged non-disclosure of issues at both the original trial and appeal hearings.

Earlier this year Mr McShane was granted leave to seek a judicial review at the High Court.

A full hearing was due to take place, but instead senior judges were informed of the Public Prosecution Service's position.

Counsel for the PPS said that following a review it had decided not to seek to remit the matter back to the Magistrates' Court.

Following that confirmation the judges made an order quashing the conviction.

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