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Gildernew demands answers from DPP and PSNI After Charges Dropped

16 February, 2004

Sinn Féin MP for Fermanagh & South Tyrone Michelle Gildernew has demanded that the PSNI and the DPP reveal the circumstances behind the malicious prosecution and detention for 8 months of a young Fermanagh teacher. Ms Gildernew's comments come after the case against Emmett Lavelle was finally thrown out in the High Court today.

Ms Gildernew said:

"This young man was arrested and charged along with other family members after a raid on the family home in Donagh. He has consistently denied all of the charges. Despite this, and at a time when the courts were granting bail to well known unionist paramilitaries without question, Emmett Lavelle was detained for eight months in Maghaberry.

"The dropping of the case today in the High Court, while welcome, poses many questions for the DPP, the PSNI and those who support their brand of policing. Who was responsible for ordering this young mans arrest and who was responsible for charging him with very serious matters while clearly having no basis in law for doing so. The decision of the judiciary to hold this innocent man in custody for eight months amounted to little more then a form of internment.

"People within the nationalist and the republican community cannot be expected to have confidence in either the PSNI or the Criminal Justice system if this is still the experience in 2004. We need to achieve an acceptable and accountable policing service working within a system of criminal justice which is impartial and unbiased. We clearly still have work to do to achieve these goals." ENDS

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