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15 January 1997 Edition

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Victim's brother protests

by Laura Friel

``There is no justice for nationalists,'' protested the brother of LVF murder victim Seamus Dillon. Roger Dillon was protesting during British paratrooper Lee Clegg's murder appeal which began in Belfast this week. Seamus Dillon was working as a doorman when he was shot dead during a loyalist mass murder attempt at a Tyrone Hotel in December.

``There has been a cover-up of my brother's killing,'' said Roger, standing up in court as the proceedings began. ``You have to be a policeman or soldier to get justice,'' he said before being escorted from the court after presiding Judge Carswell acknowledged the protest and asked him to ``leave quietly''.

Clegg was convicted of the murder of Belfast teenager Karen Reilly, who was fatally wounded when British soldiers opened fired on the stolen vehicle in which she was travelling. The driver, 17-year-old Martin Peake, was shot dead. Six soldiers were charged with murder and perverting the course of justice, after an eyewitness revealed that the patrol had deliberately injured one soldier, claiming he had been hit by the car prior to the shooting. Claims that the car drove through a British army checkpoint were exposed as fabrication during the trial.

Private Lee Clegg was convicted of murder on the basis that the fatal shot had been fired after the vehicle had passed the patrol. After his conviction, a massive media campaign by the British tabloids and Tory press called for the paratrooper's immediate release. Clegg was promoted by the British army on being released after serving less than two years of a life sentence. Clegg's latest appeal was granted on the basis of a three minute video film of a virtual reconstruction of the shooting. According to the soldier's defence team, this manufactured evidence, to be presented as ``new'' evidence, is set to clear Clegg's name.

Outside the courthouse Saoirse held a protest, calling for the release of all republican political prisoners.
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