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3 February 2000 Edition

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Anger as Clegg is cleared

Sinn Féin President and West Belfast MP Gerry Adams has described the acquittal of British Paratrooper Lee Clegg of the last charges relating to the killing of two West Belfast youths as ``the final insult to the families and the wider nationalist community''.

The conviction against Clegg for wounding 17-year-old Martin Peake, who died with 18 year-old Karen Reilly, was overturned on Monday 31 January.

This was the last charge standing against Clegg after he was cleared of murdering Karen Reilly after a retrial in March 1999.

The incident arose when Karen Reilly, Martin Peake and Markievicz Gorman drove past a British Army patrol in a stolen car on West Belfast's Glen Road on 30 September 1990.

Thirty-six bullets were fired at the car, leaving Reilly and Peake dead and a British Army cover up ensued.

In 1993, Clegg was jailed for life. He was released on licence after serving only two years of his sentence and welcomed back into the British army.

On his release in1995, Clegg was given a job as an instructor with the army and was promoted to Lance Corporal.

Speaking following the decision, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams said: ``Once again the British judicial system has connived in the protection of members of its ground forces from the consequences of their criminal actions. Nationalists will not be surprised by this ruling. This decision will reinforce the view of many, that the British Criminal Justice System and those Diplock judges who are an integral part of it must go.''
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