He was found guilty of one of West Belfast’s most notorious killings after a three-hour trial and spent 17 years in jail; now a local man waits and hopes for his conviction to be quashed

‘Good samaritan’ murder case sent to appeal court

By Staff Reporter

A LOCAL man who spent over 17 years in prison after being convicted of one of the most notorious Troubles murders in West Belfast has had his case sent back to the Court of Appeal. Patrick Livingstone was found guilty in May 1977 of the IRA shooting of Belfast City Council worker Samuel Llewellyn, who had been abducted and killed while repairing broken windows in the lower Falls after a bomb exploded in August 1975. The shooting caused widespread anger throughout the Falls, with local people placing a sympathy notice in the local press expressing their support for the Llewellyn family and their condemnation of the murder.

At his non-jury trial at the Belfast City Commission at Crumlin Road in 1977, the Lenadoon man pleaded not guilty to the killing of Mr Llewellyn (26) and was sentenced to ‘natural life’, meaning that he was to remain in prison until he died. He was convicted of the killing solely on the basis of an oral statement he was alleged to have made to three RUC officers in Dundalk Garda station in 1975 – a statement he has always strongly denied making.

His trial lasted just three hours – ending in early afternoon after an hour’s break for lunch. It is believed to have been the shortest murder trial in modern legal history in which the defendant pleaded not guilty.

Mr Livingstone was classified ‘red book’ high security on his arrival in Long Kesh. He spent his 17-plus years there under the toughest security conditions in the prison. He was released in 1994 and in 2007 applied to the Criminal Cases Review Commission for a review of his conviction. Now the CCRC has agreed to send the controversial case back to the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal with a strong possibility that the conviction will be quashed.

 

Innocence

Yesterday, Mr Livingstone, now 61, told the Andersonstown News: “Obviously I’m delighted at this development after so many years of pleading my innocence. But I will proceed carefully from here under the guidance of my solicitors, for if I’ve learned one thing it’s to take nothing for granted when it comes to the courts.”

Paddy MacDermott, Partner at MacDermott, McGurk & Partners Solicitors, who represent Mr Livingstone, told us: “We’re very happy that this decision has been taken by the Criminal Cases Review Commission, even at this late stage as the application was lodged five years ago. We are confident that the Court of Appeal will quash the conviction. Even by the standards of the time, the basis of the conviction was totally unsatisfactory and the judgment was rather summary to say the least.

 

Local man got natural life for murder after trial lasting 3 hours – and an hour for lunch

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