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20 November 1997 Edition

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Clegg set to be cleared

From killing and cover-up, the case of paratrooper Lee Clegg continues to wind its way towards his judicial exoneration for the slaying of Irish teenager Karen Reilly.

This week Appeal Court judges Carswell, McDermott and Nicholson have ruled that new evidence will be allowed and have set a date in January for the appeal to be heard.

Convicted in June 1992 Clegg served three years of a life sentence for the murder of Karen Reilly. His speedy release, on recommendation from the Life Sentence Review Board, came after a concerted and high profile campaign conducted by notable figures in the British military and political establishment. In July 1995 Clegg walked to freedom and subsequently was not only armed and welcomed back to the ranks of the paras but received promotion.

Clegg's case clearly demonstrates a sharp contrast in the treatment of Irish Republican prisoners who have served inordinate sentences, many of whom have been treated shamefully by their jailers, particularly those currently held in English prisons.

On Monday of this week as Clegg's case opened in the appeal court Saoirse demonstrators disrupted proceedings, highlighting British double standards and calling for POW releases. And on Tuesday a number of Saoirse protesters unfurled a banner and national flag on the rooftop of the prestigious Waterfront Hall in Belfast while others carrying placards `Clegg Out - All Out' demonstrated at the Waterfront entrance.

Meanwhile in the appeal court their Lordships Carswell and Co. have decided to consider new ballistic evidence and have referred Clegg's case back to the appeal court in January of next year.
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