Shivers begins Massereene appeal

Wed, Feb 15, 2012, 00:00

A terminally ill dissident republican jailed for murdering two soldiers in Northern Ireland has launched a legal bid to overturn his conviction.

Brian Shivers (46) lodged papers to appeal the verdict that he was guilty of killing Sappers Mark Quinsey (23) and Patrick Azimkar (21).

His legal team claim he was wrongly punished and want an urgent hearing due to his cystic fibrosis.

Solicitor Niall Murphy said: “Mr Shivers was wrongly convicted and punished since no conduct of his could constitute the offences of which he has been convicted.”

The soldiers were shot by the Real IRA as they collected pizzas outside the Massereene barracks in Antrim in March 2009, hours before they deployed to Afghanistan.

Shivers, from Magherafelt, Co Derry, was ordered to serve a minimum of 25 years in prison after being convicted of the killings last month. He was also found guilty of six counts of attempted murder and one of possession of two firearms and ammunition with intent to endanger life.

His co-accused, veteran republican Colin Duffy, was acquitted of all charges.

It emerged during the trial that Shivers had only a few years to live because of his medical condition.

He was found guilty on the strength of a DNA link to matches found in the getaway car, which was partially set alight. The results of a relatively new DNA analysis technique were admitted as evidence by the trial judge.

Shivers was also found to have lied about his whereabouts and actions on the night of the murders.

Judge Mr Justice Anthony Hart said that, in setting fire to the Cavalier, he played a “prominent and essential” role in the crime.

Mr Murphy said: “We confirm that we have lodged an appeal against conviction.

“We have further petitioned the Court of Appeal that the same should be listed with as much expedition as is possible given our client’s severe medical condition.

“We have petitioned the court in our grounds of appeal that the trial judge erred in law by misdirecting himself.”