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High Court quashes conviction of Derry Republican Charlie McMenamin

10 May, 2007

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has welcomed the decision by the High Court in Belfast to quash the convictions of Derry Republican Charlie McMenamin.

Mr McCartney said:

"Charlie McMenamin was arrested in 1978 as a sixteen year old boy and taken to Strand Road Interrogation Centre where a confession was forced out of him. Under pressure from the judicial system Charlie McMenamin had no option but to plead guilty to lesser charges due to duress that he was going to jail for 25 years for something that he was completely innocent of. As a result of this confession Charlie McMenamin served 3 years in jail.

"Apart from the jail sentence Charlie also accrued a 'criminal record' which has hindered him in finding meaningful employment as well as the other impediments that having a 'criminal record' brings.

"Throughout this time Charlie maintained his innocence and he fought to clear his name. Today is a vindication of Charlie campaign to have this stain removed from his record and I would congratulate him for his perseverance.

"This is another case that highlights the injustices of the Diplock system that operated for law in the Six Counties. In recent weeks I have spoken to a number of people whose cases bear similar hallmarks of Charlie McMenamin case. They have been in contact with their solicitors and I have no doubt that their convictions are unsafe and that they will be quashed in due course. Many young men and women went to jail for offences that they had nothing to do with and I would appeal to those people to contact their solicitors with a view to having their convictions challenged today.

"It is important that as we move into a new dispensation that this type of policing and judicial system is consigned to history and that the present system is made totally transparent and accountable." ENDS

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