6 August 2009 Edition

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Anger and dismay at decision in Harry Holland case

PRESS CONFERENCE: Paul Maskey and Gerry Adams accompany members of Harry Holland’s family; Pauline Holland, Sarah Holland and Geraldine McAteer

PRESS CONFERENCE: Paul Maskey and Gerry Adams accompany members of Harry Holland’s family; Pauline Holland, Sarah Holland and Geraldine McAteer

LAST week west Belfast MP Gerry Adams wrote to the British Attorney General Patricia Scotland, on behalf of the family of  murdered West Belfast shopkeeper Harry Holland.
Adams asked the Attorney General to review the sentences of the accused in the case and refer them to the Court of Appeal.
In a reply the British Attorney General has refused to review the sentences or refer them to the Court of Appeal.
Pointing out that she also failed to tackle the obvious and glaring shortcomings within the Public Prosecution Service, Adams has described the British Attorney General’s response as “inadequate and deeply disappointing for the family of Harry Holland and for the west Belfast community.

PRESS CONFERENCE
 Speaking at a press conference in Belfast on Wednesday Gerry Adams said:
“The British Attorney General has agreed to meet with me and the family to discuss all of the implications of this case.
“Her refusal to review the sentences in Harry’s case or refer them to the Court of Appeal and her failure to tackle the obvious and glaring shortcomings within the Public Prosecution Service is deeply disappointing for the family and for the west Belfast community.
“The family and the community are justifiably angry at the sordid secret deal that was done between the Public Prosecution Service and those who carried out the murder which led to reduced charges and minimum sentences against two of the accused.
“We are also very concerned that the British Attorney General relied solely for her decision on information supplied to her by the DPP.
“She has not questioned or investigated the behaviour and actions and judgements made by the PPS.
“It was the DPP who sent the case files and the report from a Counsel commissioned by the DPP to the British AG.
“The family were not spoken to about any of this nor were they informed of the DPP’s action.
“No one yet knows what information was in fact given to the British Attorney General and which was the basis of her decision.
“The British Attorney General has accepted without question the DPP’s view that the three people involved in this murder did not act in concert or were part of a joint enterprise.
“This despite all of the evidence to the contrary.
“The British AG also ignores the fact that the weapons used had been carried for some hours by the accused; and that together with others, they had been engaged in a series of anti-social or criminal incidents in the hours before Mr Holland was murdered.
“Harry Holland’s brutal murder left his family deeply traumatised and evoked public revulsion throughout the community, especially where he lived with his family in west Belfast.”

NEXT STEPS
The west Belfast MP has said that he and the family will meet again to examine the decision and what next steps are open to the family.
He has asked for an early meeting with the British Attorney General to discuss all of the implications of the Holland case.

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