Stephen Murney case: dismissal of some charges demonstrates paucity of prosecution case

Stephen MurneyIn a dramatic follow-up to the ‘no bill’ application made by Stephen Murney’s legal team on Tuesday 26th November, the judge hearing the case summoned the defence and prosecution teams to a brief sitting yesterday evening (Friday 29th November).

Although he had previously stated that judgment was being reserved until December 10th, the judge announced that he was dismissing those charges relating to “items for use in terrorism”. These charges related to old band uniforms of Stephen’s and to toy guns belonging to his son – facts that had been consistently presented by the defence ever since Stephen was first charged exactly one year ago.

The charges featured heavily in every court hearing during the past twelve months as PSNI witnesses and the prosecution, constantly and without fail, portrayed these “terror” charges and the items they related to as some sort of evidence to show Stephen’s involvement in a “terrorist conspiracy”.

Far from accepting that the items were, in fact, band uniforms and toys, the prosecution continuously referred to “paramilitary uniforms” and “Uzi machine guns” that could be used in “paramilitary shows of strength”.

Tuesday’s lengthy legal submissions to the court by the defence – along with the ability to demonstrate the true nature of the items which included photographs of Stephen wearing the uniform in a band and evidence relating to the toy guns – clearly demonstrated the spurious nature of the charges against Stephen.

While these charges are now dismissed, Stephen still remains in custody and will face trial in January in relation to “collecting and possessing items that may be of use to terrorists”.

Those charges relate directly to photographs of PSNI harassment of citizens, raids and houses searches. The photographs had been taken quite openly by Stephen to document and record human rights abuses and infringements of civil liberties by the PSNI in his role as publicity officer for éirígí in the Newry area.

Speaking last night after the dismissal of the charges, éirígí’s Breandán Mac Cionnaith said, “It has taken a full year for Stephen’s case to reach this pre-trial stage. With this dismissal of some charges, it is clear that the entire PSNI/prosecution case is entirely without any foundation whatsoever.

“From the outset, we have said that these charges were nothing more than a spurious means to remove a committed and dedicated party activist from his family and his community. In short, Stephen’s imprisonment has been tantamount to ‘internment by remand’.

“Tomorrow, we will be protesting in Newry to highlight Stephen’s ongoing and unjust detention in Maghaberry where he has now been held for one full year.

“His continued imprisonment makes a complete nonsense of the propaganda spewed out by constitutional nationalist politicians who say that this Six County state has been reformed; that the PSNI is completely different to the RUC, and that political policing is a thing of the past.

“Those politicians know the truth but they also know by publicly acknowledging that truth, they admit to their own failure.”

This article is taken from the éirígí site.



Posted on December 6, 2013, in éirígí, British state repression (general), Censorship, Democratic rights - general, Irish politics today, Prisoners - current, Repression and resistance in the six counties today, six counties. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Stephen Murney case: dismissal of some charges demonstrates paucity of prosecution case.

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