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Thursday 26 May 2016

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Review of jail terms over Holland killing ruled out

By Lisa Smyth

Published 05/08/2009

Harry Holland who was attacked and murdered at the driveway of his home in Norfolk Drive in West Belfast in September 2007
Harry Holland who was attacked and murdered at the driveway of his home in Norfolk Drive in West Belfast in September 2007

The family of murdered Harry Holland is to meet with Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams after the Attorney General refused to review the sentences handed out to his killers.

The West Belfast MP wrote to Patricia Scotland on behalf of Mr Holland’s family last week to raise their concerns about the handling of the prosecution.

The greengrocer was stabbed in the head with a screwdriver near his home in 2007.

Last month, 18-year-old Stephen McKee from Ballymurphy Road was sentenced to 12 years for the murder of the popular 65-year-old. Patrick Crossan from Willowbank Gardens in west Belfast was sentenced to four years for attempted affray and having an offensive weapon and a 17-year-old girl was placed on a probation order for two years.

Speaking after the trial, the Holland family criticised both the PPS and the judiciary for the leniency of the sentences handed down.

“Our father's death has... brought to light some glaring deficiencies within the justice system — namely the Public Prosecution Service and the judiciary,” his daughter Sarah said.

“Neither of these huge, inefficient organisations are accountable to the people they are supposed to serve.”

The family had hoped Ms Scotland would intervene but Mr Adams last night said she had refused to review the sentences or refer them to the Court of Appeal and also failing to tackle “the obvious and glaring shortcomings” within the PPS. He described Ms Scotland’s response as “inadequate and deeply disappointing”.

“The family and the community are justifiably angry at the sordid secret deal that was done between the PPS and those who carried out the murder which led to reduced charges and minimum sentences against two of the accused,” he said.

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