25 November 2004 Edition

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Milnes lawyers want retrial

The legal team representing Kieran Milnes (the Belfast man sentenced to nine months imprisonment after he confronted a teenager he believed was stealing his car) are demanding a retrial.

Lawyers lodged an application with the Belfast office of the Court of Appeal calling for Milnes' guilty plea to be nullified. The lawyers also applied for bail for the West Belfast man.

The Court of Appeal will decide whether or not it will hear the application after examining the papers. If the application is accepted, a date for a hearing will be set and a retrial could take place within weeks.

Milnes was jailed last month for grevious bodily harm after he challenged a 15-year-old boy who was attempting to steal his car outside his mother's Poleglass home.

A petition launched by the Milnes family calling for the Attorney General to intervene in the case has gathered more than 4,000 signatures.

Sinn Féin MLA Michael Ferguson said Milnes' imprisonment had caused outrage across the Six Counties and sparked debate on the rights of householders to defend and protect their family and property.

"Kieran has been overwhelmed with messages of support sent by ordinary people to him in Maghaberry Prison and I will be seeking a meeting with the British Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, to discuss the impact of the case," said Ferguson.

Milnes' sister, Jacqueline Hanna, welcomed the latest development in the case and said that the family is happy that this legal initiative has been taken.

"Kieran should not be in jail for what he did and we hope the court will release him. We have had so much support from everyone and we are thankful for that."

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