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Barman’s bid to have conviction for murder of boxer Eamonn Magee Jr overturned to be heard later this month

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Orhan Koca was handed a life sentence, with a minimum tariff of 14 years, for the murder of Eamonn Magee in 2015

Orhan Koca was handed a life sentence, with a minimum tariff of 14 years, for the murder of Eamonn Magee in 2015

Orhan Koca was handed a life sentence, with a minimum tariff of 14 years, for the murder of Eamonn Magee in 2015

A barman's legal bid to overturn his conviction for murdering boxer Eamonn Magee Jr will be heard later this month, judges confirmed on Thursday.

But uncertainty surrounds Orhan Koca's attempts to secure legal representation in his appeal over the fatal stabbing in west Belfast.

Koca, 39, pleaded guilty to carrying out the murder of 22-year-old Mr Magee, his estranged wife's new boyfriend, in May 2015.

The Turkish national is currently serving a minimum 14-year sentence for the killing.

He now claims that he was forced into making admissions without proper access to an interpreter.

Mr Magee was stabbed six times during the attack at Summerhill Park in the Twinbrook area.

Koca had been motivated by jealousy when he armed himself and went to his former family home with the intention of killing the engineering student and personal trainer, a previous court heard.

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His ex-partner had started a new relationship with Mr Magee after they met at a gym where he worked.

The young boxer also hoped to follow in the footsteps of his father - former welterweight champion Eamonn Magee Sr.

Koca initially denied the killing, claiming he had panicked and lunged at what he believed to be a house intruder with a pair of garden shears.

But following his guilty plea the judge who jailed him declared that it had been "a pre-meditated and planned murder which was both brutal and sustained".

The Court of Appeal was told on Thursday that he now hopes to have found a solicitor willing to take on his case.

Appearing remotely from prison, Koca indicated: "If he can't represent me I can't represent myself because I have difficulty in reading, I can only read basic words."

However, Lord Justice McCloskey indicated that the solicitor currently has no official role in the proceedings.

He asked: "You have made repeated efforts to get yourself a lawyer, they have been unsuccessful and this is your last chance. Is that a fair summary?"

Koca replied: "Yes sir."

Stressing the appeal will go ahead as planned, the judge described the solicitor as "sitting on the fence".

"He, like those who did the same previously, will have to bite the bullet and stare in the face the court calendar," Lord Justice McCloskey said.

"We are affirming without any qualification the hearing date of January 25."


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