The floodgates could be opened on a series of appeals by people convicted of terrorist offences in Northern Ireland more than 20 years ago following a decision by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), it was claimed tonight.
The conviction of a Belfast man jailed 25 years ago for IRA membership and possession of weapons has been referred back to the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal by the Commission because of question marks over the validity of police evidence.
The Commission sent the case of John Joseph Boyle back to the Court in Belfast because tests "showed that some of the interview notes had been amended".
Mr Boyle's solicitor, Kevin Winters, said the case could open the way for many more appeals. "There is a belief that around this period in the late 1970's and early 1980's that many other people were convicted in similar circumstances.
"There would be ongoing concerns about the reliability of those convictions. This case might highlight the situation."
He said the question had been raised the case of his client of whether the police interview notes had been rewritten.
And he said there were other notes missing about which the CCRC "has been given no explanation from the RUC as to why and when they went missing".
Mr Boyle was sentenced to a total of 12 years in prison and served nine.
An appeal against the conviction was turned down three months after sentence.
The order from the CCRC that a fresh look at the case should be taken came after Mr Boyle applied to them in December 1999 for a review of the conviction.