Northern Ireland news

Judgment reserved in Downey extradition case

John Downey at an earlier court hearing

A Donegal man who received a 'comfort letter' in relation to the 1982 London Hyde Park must wait to hear whether he will be extradited to face trial for the bombing of two Ulster Defence Regiment soldiers in Enniskillen in 1972.

Northern Irish authorities are seeking the surrender of John Downey (67) to face prosecution for the murder of two British Army Infantrymen as well as aiding and abetting the causing of an explosion on August 25, 1972. Lance Corporal Alfred Johnston and Private James Eames were killed when a device exploded in a vehicle they were checking on the Irvinestown Road, Cherrymount, in Enniskillen.

Downey was arrested in November at his home address in Ards, Creeslough, Co Donegal on foot of a European Arrest Warrant. He told detectives he believed “it was the DUP and not the DPP” who decided to prosecute him.

A hearing into Mr Downey's proposed extradition opened in the High Court in Dublin yesterday where judgment was reserved.

Mr Downey's fingerprints are alleged to have been found on adhesive tape recovered from a battery pack used in the Enniskillen bombing, the High Court heard.

However, defence counsel said the adhesive tape was subsequently lost for a number of years and it was unclear whether it actually still existed. He said the prosecution intended to rely on statements from two critical prosecution witnesses in relation to the tape and its analysis, who were now deceased.

He said a direction was given for no prosecution in 1985, after the adhesive tape went missing, unless further evidence came to light. Mr Downey subsequently received his letter of assurance.

Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly reserved judgment.

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