Clegg refused retrial but new evidence to be admitted

 

Convicted murderer, Lee Clegg, has been refused a retrial but Court of Appeal judges have agreed to admit new ballistics evidence. The hearing was adjourned until January 12th and afterwards Clegg's solicitor, Mr Simon McKay, said: "We are obviously relieved that we have got over the first hurdle. We are looking forward to coming back in January to call our expert witnesses. . ."

The 29-year-old PT instructor in the Parachute Regiment was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1993 for murdering Karen Reilly (18) on the Glen Road in west Belfast in 1990. She was a passenger in a stolen car that was riddled with bullets after it went through a road block. The driver, Martin Peake (17), was also killed.

Despite losing two appeals, Clegg was released on licence after only two years, and last January his case was referred back to the Appeal Court. Former Northern Ireland Secretary, Sir Patrick Mayhew, asked the court to reconsider the case after he received a dossier of new ballistic evidence.

At the opening of the appeal earlier this week, Mr Anthony Scrivener QC submitted the new evidence was of sufficient weight to justify a retrial. But Mr Reginald Weir QC, leading for the Crown, said the evidence could not get over the objective findings about the fatal shot and bullet holes in the car which led to Clegg's conviction.

After considering the matter overnight, the Lord Chief Justice, Sir Robert Carswell, and Lord Justices MacDermott and Nicholson decided against a retrial and, instead, chose to admit the fresh evidence when the hearing reconvenes.