26 September 2002 Edition

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Meehan attacker will not face trial

RUC/PSNI member Paul Thompson, accused of assaulting South Antrim Sinn Fein councillor Martin Meehan, will never stand trial, after Magistrate Desmond Perry dismissed the charge of assault. Perry contended that the RUC/PSNI officer's human rights had been adversely affected by the lengthy delay of going to court.

Meehan, speaking to An Phoblacht, said that his human rights have been abused and accused the RUC/PSNI and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) of stalling tactics, resulting in the RUC/PSNI member, who attacked him in 1994, walking free from court.

"The judge said Thompson's human rights have been abused, what about my human rights? The RUC and the DPP have dragged their feet for 8 years in bringing this case and now this man is not going to face trial for a serious assault which left me in intensive care for five days - it's absurd".

The Antrim councillor said he has not received justice. "No one is questioning the fact that I was attacked or who attacked me. I received £4,000 compensation, but I still haven't received justice. The outcome of this case won't encourage nationalists to support the new police service".

He added that Thompson is now free to patrol the streets of North Belfast in the guise of a 'community policeman'.

Meehan was awarded £4,000 in January 2000 in a civil action brought by him against the RUC/PSNI member, for serious injuries he received when he was stopped at a checkpoint in North Belfast and assaulted by Thompson and members of the British Army in December 1994.

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