Setback for Kieran Milnes
Attorney General rules out reopening of case

The Deputy Mayor of Belfast, Joe O’Donnell, has expressed disappointment after the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, appeared to rule out any re-opening of the case of local man Kieran Milnes.

The Attorney General’s position will come as a blow to those seeking a re-trial in the case.

The 29-year-old is currently serving a nine month prison sentence in Maghaberry prison after pleading guilty to a charge of grievous bodily harm.

Mr Milnes’ GBH charge arose after he interrupted a youth who was in the process of breaking into his partner’s car in Poleglass in November 2002.

Mr Milnes apprehended the youth, detained him and then called the PSNI – who took an hour to arrive at the scene – before handing the culprit over.
The PSNI later charged Mr Milnes with using excessive force in the course of the incident.

Mr Milnes’ call for his conviction to be overturned has gained support from a host of political, civic and community leaders.

However this week’s intervention by the Attorney General appears to close down the possibility that the conviction could be reversed.

In replying to a letter from Councillor Joe O’Donnell, the Attorney General stated: “I have no doubt that this prosecution was properly brought”.

“It was not the view of the prosecution that (the injuries suffered by the youth) were consistent with the reasonable use of force.

“It is not mine, and given Mr Milnes’ plea of guilty, it was also accepted by him as being unreasonable.

“It is fundamental to the rule of law that individuals do not take the law into their own hands. Not only does it undermine public order, it may lead, as in this case, to matters going too far, individuals suffering serious injury and the very people trying to protect property finding themselves liable to be prosecuted.

“I have considerable sympathy with the feelings of those who are targets of repeat offending, but this was a matter for the police and it is their efforts that should be supported,” wrote the Attorney General.

Expressing his dissatisfaction at the Attorney General’s response, Cllr O’Donnell said the leading lawyer’s view “is flying in the face of popular opinion across Belfast and beyond”.

“I am calling on the Attorney General to think again and use his powers to quash the conviction and immediately release Kieran Milnes,” he said.
Meanwhile a vigil in support of Kieran Milnes took place last night in conjunction with Families Bereaved Through Car Crime along the Andersonstown Road.

Journalist:: Jarlath Kearney

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