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21 February 2002 Edition

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RUC man charged with Meehan assault

The Director of Public Prosecution has finally decided that a former RUC officer who was involved in a brutal assault against Sinn Féin's Martin Meehan in 1994 will stand trial. Paul Thompson has been charged with occasional and actual bodily harm and was due to appear in court this week.

In December 1994, Martin Meehan suffered a heart attack after being viciously beaten by members of a joint RUC and British Army patrol. The former POW received extensive injuries, including a broken nose, black eyes, head wounds and bruising to his lower legs and back.

Meehan had just driven away from his North Belfast home at around 1.20pm on a Saturday afternoon when he was stopped by the patrol and searched. Meehan was verbally abused before being head butted by a British soldier and knocked to the ground. He was repeatedly kicked before being arrested and taken to Antrim RUC barracks.

At the barracks, Meehan was held in a cell for two hours before a doctor ordered the RUC to take him to hospital. At the hospital, it was discovered that Meehan had suffered a minor heart attack as a result of the attack and he was placed in intensive care.

Subsequently, Meehan was awarded compensation in relation to his injuries but no members of the patrol were charged at the time.
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