Belfast Telegraph

Man loses action to prosecute police

29 September 2004

A man whose terrorist convictions were overturned after judges held that detectives may have re-written interview notes today lost a High Court action over the decision not to prosecute the officers for perjury.

John Boyle, a 45 year-old father of five, from the Markets area of Belfast, said afterwards that he had been denied justice by the DPP's decision not to charge the two officers who gave evidence at his trial in 1977.

Mr Boyle was convicted solely on a statement admitting his alleged part in an IRA attempt to murder a policeman. He claimed his admission was fabricated but was jailed for 12 years.

He was released in 1986 when his case was investigated by the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

The case was referred back to the Court of Appeal, which had dismissed his first appeal, and he was cleared after ESDA evidence revealed that the notes of one of his interviews had been re-written.

The Police Ombudsman then took up the case and following an investigation recommended that the two officers should be charged with perjury.

But the Director of Public Prosecutions decided there was insufficient evidence to afford a reasonable prospect of a conviction.

In today's judgement dismissing the application, Mr Justice Girvan said: "The fact that an apparent miscarriage of justice has occurred and the fact that the Ombudsman's Office had taken a view that a prosecution would be appropriate would be very relevant factors for consideration by the Department.

"But there is nothing to suggest that either of those factors was overlooked in the decision making process."

The judge said counsel had argued that where no reasons were given in a controversial case such as Mr Boyle's, it was not conducive to public confidence.

"There is nothing to indicate that the Director failed to properly apply his policy," he said.

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