Important step forward in fight for justice as his case is referred

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

By Staff Reporter

LAWYERS for West Belfast man Patrick Livingstone are confident that his 1977 conviction for the murder of ‘Good Samaritan’ Samuel Llewellyn will be quashed after it was referred to the Court of Appeal by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC).

Mr Livingstone, meanwhile, is remaining non-committal – hardly surprising given his experience of the judicial process to date. He was sentenced to natural life for the killing after a trial that lasted just three hours and on the basis of a short oral statement he is alleged to have made in Dundalk Garda station to three RUC officers who visited him there shortly after the 1975 murder.

While the trial is believed to be among the shortest in modern legal history, that it lasted three hours is hardly surprising, given that the evidence against Mr Livingstone was so thin. The Lenadoon man had been living in Dundalk when he was picked up for questioning in relation to an assault on a Garda. He says he was surprised when he was told that three RUC officers wanted to talk to him – and even more surprised to find that when they entered the room all three were clearly armed.

The Diplock trial heard all three RUC men give evidence that Mr Livingstone taunted them with an admission to the killing of Shankill Road man Mr Llewellyn and a boast that they couldn’t do anything about it because he had no intention of crossing the border.

“I was surprised to see them and even more surprised to see that they were armed,” said Mr Livingstone yesterday. “The statement thing was all nonsense. I’ve served 17 years of my life in jail on the basis of a handful of words that they said I said in Dundalk to RUC officers from the North. I was handed natural life after a trial that lasted about three hours – and they had an hour’s break for lunch.”

Now Mr Livingstone’s five-year battle to clear his name has made significant progress with the decision by the CCRC to refer his case back to the Court of Appeal. The CCRC said in a statement: “The Commission has referred the murder conviction of Patrick Livingstone to the Court to Appeal in Northern Ireland.

“Mr Livingstone was tried for murder and for possession of a firearm and ammunition with intent at the Belfast City Commission in May 1977. He pleaded not guilty but was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. He sought to appeal against his conviction but the appeal was dismissed in September 1977. He applied to the Commission for a review of his case in May 2007. Having investigated the case the Commission has decided to refer the conviction to the Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland because it believes that non-disclosure of material, and other new evidence, relevant to the credibility of disputed evidence of confession, raise a real possibility that the Court will quash the conviction.”

Residents of the lower Falls retain vivid memories of the 1975 killing that shocked the community and which became known as the ‘Good Samaritan’ killing because Mr Llewellyn had been working for Belfast City Council delivering hardboard and glass to repair bomb damage to homes when he was abducted and killed by the IRA.

 

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