Morrison Conviction Overturned

SINN Fein's former director of publicity Danny Morrison is set to have his conviction for false imprisonment overturned after prosecutors revealed that they will not contest the Republican's appeal against his conviction.In 1991 Morrison, who famously coined the "armalite and ballot box" slogan, was convicted of the false imprisonment of Special Branch agent Sandy Lynch and sentenced to eight years in jail. He was released from prison in 1995 and left politics to pursue a career as a writer.In 2003 west Belfast man Freddie Scappaticci publicly denied that he was the British army agent known as "Stakeknife" and that he had tipped off police that Morrison was due to visit a house in west Belfast where Lynch was being held prisoner by the IRA.Morrison claimed he had gone to the house to hold a press conference at which Lynch would admit to being an informer.Earlier this year the 55-year-old and his co-accused had their cases referred back to the Court of Appeal by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), which investigates alleged miscarriages of justice.However, in a highly unusual move the CCRC refused to publicly explain its reasons for referring the cases back to the Court of Appeal. Instead a sealed envelope containing the CCRC's reasons was presented to the Court of Appeal but never opened.Only the CCRC and the director of public prosecutions are aware of the reasons for Morrison's conviction being referred back to the appeal court.Previous attempts by Morrison to have his conviction overturned was rejected by the courts. However, the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) has now informed the Court of Appeal that it will not oppose Morrison's latest appeal.Morrison is expected to have his conviction officially overturned at a hearing in October.Morrison's solicitor Barra McGrory said his client will be demanding full disclosure of the reasons why the CCRC has sought to have his conviction overturned.Legal insiders have speculated that Sinn Fein's former publicity director could receive substantial damages, potentially a six-figure sum, if he successfully sues the government for malicious prosecution and wrongful imprisonment.

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