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State settles with former hunger striker in Sandy Lynch kidnap case

Belfast republican Gerard Hodgkins at press conference after the announcement that Freddie Scappaticci is to be questioned about the murders of 24 people. Picture by Mal McCann

A FORMER IRA man who had convictions quashed in a kidnap case linked to Freddie Scappaticci received an offer to settle a compensation case on the same day the police investigation into Stakeknife was announced.

Gerard Hodgins had his convictions overturned in 2008 in connection with the kidnapping of police informer Sandy Lynch.

Sinn Féin's former director of publicity Danny Morrison, who was also jailed as part of the same case, had his offences quashed at the same time.

Lynch was being held at a house in Lenadoon in west Belfast that had been visited by Scappaticci, alleged to be the agent known as Stakeknife, in January 1990.

He left before the RUC swooped on the house, which had been under surveillance.

As head of the IRA's 'internal discipline' unit, Scappaticci was named during the trial as the man in charge of Lynch's interrogation.

While all those convicted of offences were cleared on appeal, evidence contained in confidential papers was withheld from the defendants.

Mr Hodgins launched legal proceedings to have the evidence which led to his convictions being quashed revealed.

He has in the past accused the state of using legislation to withhold information from him to continue to protect informers, including Scappaticci.

The former republican hunger striker, represented by Kevin Winters of KRW Law, had also taken civil action against the chief constable in relation to his time wrongly spent in jail.

However, he said he has now received correspondence to conclude his compensation case, on the same day as the new investigation was launched.

"I don't for one minute think that the development in my case on the same day as the PPS announcement is coincidence," he said.

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