52 1 min 8 yrs

Brian Shivers, whose prior conviction was overturned, was found Not Guilty today in Belfast Crown Court for participation in the murder of two young British Soldiers who were out getting pizza in 2009. No one has been convicted of this crime which was the first murder of British servicemen in over 10 years in NI.

Is Shivers innocent? I don’t know enough about the facts, the Judge dismissed the DNA evidence as not persuasive. What I do know is that the families of two soldiers have watched the Justice system fail to convict anyone of the murders. Your thoughts?

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52 thoughts on “Would You Like Injustice On That Pizza? The Massereene Mess Continues

  1. It’s unfortunate for the families but at least there was a criminal investigation. Other victims families have got far less even when it was proved that the accused had perjured themselves.

  2. Is this not old news? I thought the case against Shivers was dismissed last January.

    It was a terrible act by terrible men. Afterwards, their group actually claimed that not only the soldiers but also the pizza delivery men were “legitimate targets”, for collaborating with the enemy or something.

    It’s a pity nobody could be caught and convicted for these killings. Hopefully this was the dying spasms of the RIRA and CIRA. They have no policy, no support and nothing to offer anyone in Ireland except more bloodshed.

  3. Whoever it was they were damn brave.
    Fancy going up against TWO British squaddies armed with pizzas..

  4. Fancy going up against TWO British squaddies armed with pizzas

    Point of fact Agi, they were also armed with SA80 5.56mm assault rifles

    Which still doesn’t make it right.

    It’s a pity nobody could be caught and convicted for these killings. Hopefully this was the dying spasms of the RIRA and CIRA. They have no policy, no support and nothing to offer anyone in Ireland except more bloodshed.

    100% Noel.

  5. Noel – The first conviction was tossed on legal grounds, this was the second trial.

  6. “Which still doesn’t make it right.”

    Absolutely Paul.
    It was a cowardly attack on two young men whose only “crime” was that they joined the British Army.
    They had no choice as to where they were posted, and I doubt very much that they hated the Irish or saw them as the enemy. They were there doing what they were ordered to do.

    To dwell on the evils and injustices committed by all sides is to be condemned to live in the past. I don’t care what anyone says. To score points on issues like this is a hollow empty victory.
    I was disappointed when LU came back on and stirred things up re Northern Ireland, but I still respect the man, I feel for him as much as I feel for you and Seimi and all others affected by the Troubles.

  7. What do you mean is Mr Shivers innocent? After 2 trials, with a forensic witness whi lied , experimental DNA testing techniques and based on circumstantial evidence! Yes this man is innocent and proven innocent after 2 trials. The Craigavon two should also be released, what is happening there is a disgrace.

  8. Regardless of this outcome, one man cannot sit in judgement. It’s long past time we abolished Diplock courts.

  9. Kateyo – What do I mean is he innocent? I mean is he free from complicity in the case. he was found not guilty which means the prosecution could not prove its case.

    As for the title, it is aimed (with a bit of a tweak) at the failure to successfully arrest, prosecute and convict those responsible, whoever they may be.

  10. It appears that our American commentators are losing all sense of the basis of justice. A man found not guilty in the UK in a re-trial is seen as not necessarily innocent yet in the US a man has been convicted of murder by the US President and vice-President without a trial on the basis of fabricated evidence.

  11. Mahons is not retrying him. He is saying that the continuing failure to obtain a conviction remains an injustice which it is. Justice will be served when the killers are convicted and punished.

  12. Colm mahons clearly asks if the man is innocent, stating he does not know enough about the facts and inviting others. To discuss facts, that amounts to a retrial !

    It is sad no one has been convicted but there has been enough miscarriages of justice in n Ireland we don’t need any more.

  13. kateyo

    We don’t have the ability to retry the man. We are only discussing the case here. The truth is of course none of us can say with absolute certainty that he is not the killer and the same goes for hundreds of other trials where people are acquitted. Acquittal does not automatically mean ‘did not do it’ it means ‘we don’t have the evidence to safely convict’. He may well be innocent and of course he rightly should be legally treated as such, but none of us here can say for certain because we cannot know.

  14. Colm — The fact that none of us (presumably!) have any evidence other than that seen by the court, surely speculating can only be fruitless?

    Personally, and it’s just my own feeling on it, I find it a little unseemly to be wondering aloud whether or not he’s guilty five minutes after he’s been found not guilty.

  15. Petr

    Since when has ATW maintained dignified periods of restraint on sensitive topics of the day 😉

  16. Kateyo – You really can’t be that foolish. It would take too much effort. I am not saying he should be retried or that he is not innocent. He has been found not guilty. That doesn’t mean he is innocent. I don’t think he was randomly selected for prosecution. And it doesn’t appear he was prosecuted as a result of a malicious prosecutor. Discussing whether a person who was found not guilty may actually have been guilty but there was insufficient evidence is perfectly normal.

    Maybe this will help you. Pretend he was a British soldier on trial for killing someone, and pretend he was found not guilty in that context. Would that be the end of the story for you?

  17. Petr – You believe once a Court has reached a decision that no one can question that decision? In that case his first conviction would never have been overturned.

  18. Shivers didn’t walk on a technicality. The judge said the prosecution had failed to prove its case. He’s not guilty then.

    Going by the background reported in the press, Shivers doesn’t seem like hardcore nutter material. He’ll be dead soon from cystic fibrosis. Anyone thinking he’s guilty might take some comfort from that.

    The continued use of Diplock courts is something that shouldn’t be tolerated.

  19. I am surprised the Diplock courts are still operating. I would have thought they would have been done away with as part of the Belfast Agreement.

  20. You believe once a Court has reached a decision that no one can question that decision?

    No.

  21. I don’t think he was randomly selected for prosecution.

    Both the Massereene attack and the killing of PSNI member Stephen Carroll happened in a four day period, the state response to both attacks was swift and obviously coordinated, in a matter of days Brian Shivers, Colin Duffy, Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton were arrested and detained in Antrim PSNI Station.

    All were held under new legislation which seen periods of up to 13 days detention without charge, a precedent to this time. after this all four were charged respectively and sent to Maghaberry with Brian later securing bail until trial,

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Justice-for-the-Craigavon-Two/413880698678704?fref=ts

    So far both men charged have been freed with the DNA evidence found to be faulty.

    As for the Craigavon two, they should be freed if there is any justice. With police arresting appeal witnesses within the last few days, it is only a matter of time before that case collapses in my view.

    As you said mahons you really don’t know enough about it, so read up on it rather than try to get hit on a post on which you appear to be very ignorant of facts..

    Discussing whether a person who was found not guilty may actually have been guilty but there was insufficient evidence is perfectly normal

    Really? looks like you are attempting a retrial by blog post, which is rather silly of you.

    Maybe this will help you. Pretend he was a British soldier on trial for killing someone, and pretend he was found not guilty in that context. Would that be the end of the story for you

    And how would that help mahons? maybe throwing someone into gitmo on no evidence is the American way, but here – at last – justice is beginning to work.

    So mahons lets hear from you how mr shivers is complicit? Any evidence? Thought not.
    But then you knew that, you were simply desperate for a few comments incase you got ignored, which by rights this thread should be.

    So mahons lets hear your complicit arguments…oh that’s right, you’ve got none.

  22. I don’t think he was randomly selected for prosecution.

    Tells us why mahons…??

    Acquitting Mr Shivers at Belfast Crown Court today, the judge, Mr Justice Deeny, noted that Mr Shivers was of previous good character. He said the “ferocious and ruthless” attack was carried out by a determined gang, and added: “He was an unlikely associate for this hardened gang to rely on.”

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/real-ira-murders-brian-shivers-cleared-of-double-murder-of-british-soldiers-at-antrim-barracks-8603046.html

  23. Kateyo – You’ve commented 9 times on a thread you say should be ignored. Imagine how many times you would comment on it if you felt it shouldn’t be ignored.

    I am fairly certain that a small blog is not the same thing as an actual trial experience. And as I have said, I welcome all comments on the story.

    I don’t think he was selected at random because his DNA was in the car. The Judge felt there might be other explanations, and he might be right. But it was certainly present. I am not saying he was complicit, rather I asked if there was any evidence that he was. If insufficient to convict, so be it. But was he wrongfully prosecuted – I don’t know. I certainly think he should have been entitled to a jury for starters.

    As for Gitmo, you have me confused with some of my countrymen, I am against it.

  24. There was a time when, after an attack in NI, the cops would more or less grab the nearest Republican and give him the works in Castlereagh until he confessed to whatever they wanted.
    Those days are gone. An objective view IMO would be that the PSNI had reason to believe Shivers was closely connected to the attack.

  25. I don’t think he was selected at random because his DNA was in the car.

    Along with four others….??

    I am not saying he was complicit, rather I asked if there was any evidence that he was.

    And why would you do that mahons without first checking the facts which by your own admission you knew little of…?

    I commented nine times (now ten) to correct your unjust treatment of a man who was tried twice and declared not guilty. A small blog or not, you tried to imply this man was complicit in a crime for which he was tried twice and found not guilty. You even tried to imply that being found not guilty was in this case not a verdict of innocence, on a case you know sweet FA about, from your own admission…

    <i.There was a time when, after an attack in NI, the cops would more or less grab the nearest Republican and give him the works in Castlereagh until he confessed to whatever they wanted.

    Which is what mahons based this thread on Noel…

    he was arrested so he must be guilty!!! Really mahons!

    Update yourself before you spout..

  26. Noel

    An objective view IMO would be that the PSNI had reason to believe Shivers was closely connected to the attack.

    An objective view is one thing and an opinion is something else. No matter how much policing is reformed in the north nobody should ever have aspersions cast on the basis that the Police wouldn’t have arrested him if he wasn’t dodgy. Police get it wrong everywhere. Otherwise we would hardly need courts at all.

  27. What are the conviction rates for murder in NI and the RoI? And, what is the percentage of murders where no one is charged post GFA? Anecdotally it seems many charged get off and are there many cases with no charges. If the conviction rate is much lower and the charge rate much lower than comparable regions, what are the reasons and what can be done to improve the rates?

  28. Kateyo – Was your DNA in the car? Mine wasn’t. Neither was the DNA of most people in NI. It certainly is enough to make him a person of interest.

    I would like to know what his involvement was, or his lack of involvement. Stop you silly nonsense. A verdict of not guilty doesn’t mean someone is innocent, rather that there is insufficient evidence to convict. He may very well be innocent, and I’d be happy to hear about that. I never said he was arrested so he must be guilty. Innocent people can be arrested.

    Let us cut to the chase, do you consider the killing of the two soldiers murder (whoever did it)?

    I’ve on the money and you’ve been a caricature.

  29. Of course the question has to be asked was Brian Shivers’ DNA in the car? It wouldn’t be the first time that police in Northern Ireland have needed to solve a case and have found a few sacrificial taigs so they could claim a job well done. The fact is that I have no confidence in the police to make be doubt that they could have framed Brian Shivers and Colin Duffy for this.

  30. Seamus
    Probably a plot.
    A put up job.
    Evidence was added
    Evidence was removed.
    Unionist Police were involved.
    Republican police were involved.
    It was all a frameup.
    The newspapers were probably in on it too…

  31. Honestly Agit, considering the past record of the police in Northern Ireland, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were framed.

  32. The point is Seamus as Mahons has pointed out the evidence is not there to make a conviction.
    So the man got off.
    Noone can say he didn’t do it or that he did.
    There is insufficient, conclusive evidence.

    Personally and regardless of who did do it, I think to murder two young soldiers collecting a pizza is an act of cowardice to be totally and utterly ashamed of.
    That there is so much suspicion about how the case was handled or whether there was corruption involved is profoundly depressing.
    Personally I would be looking for somewhere else to live.

  33. Was your DNA in the car? Mine wasn’t

    No my dna was not in the car BUT NEITHER was the dna of mr shivers…

    ffs!!!

  34. do you consider the killing of the two soldiers murder (whoever did it)?

    Yes I do indeed

    I’ve on the money and you’ve been a caricature.

    mahons all you have done is show that you posted on something on which you are not fully up to date with the facts…

    I’m waiting on you now telling me his dna was in the car….

    I’m waiting mahons :)??

  35. Now Mahons is in the dock and Kateyo is the fierce no-nonsense prosecution lawyer, looking to send him down for a long long time… 😉

  36. We’ll have to send out an ATW APB to Officers Troll, Phantom, Daphne and Patty to apprehend the unarmed but dangerous lawyer..

  37. Kateyo – Wasn’t his DNA on a mobile phone inside the car? That is what the BBC has indicated.

  38. Seamus – Please don’t turn into Allen just because the story is from NI.

  39. Kateyo – Wasn’t his DNA on a mobile phone inside the car? That is what the BBC has indicated.

    dna was found on two matches and a mobile phone that came from the car. These had dna from at least five other sources, two of whom were in shivers house earlier and at least one of them could not be ruled out as a source of contamination. Further more the two matches were put into the same evidence bag thus they could have contaminated each other, and the cars front seat was folded down on top of them, contaminating them possibly further.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-22404583

    and when the case failed on dna and the first trial collapsed they further tried to get him on aiding and abetting and that also failed.

    Forensic science expert Andrew McDonald confirmed to the court that initial DNA testing on items recovered from the scene were later found to have been wrong as incorrect data had been used.

    http://www.thedetail.tv/issues/177/shivers-wednesday/up-to-4-peoples-dna-found-on-massereene-murder-evidence

  40. Yeah because the police have never just grabbed innocent people and put them in prison? They have never faked forensic evidence? They don’t have a 20 year grudge against one of the accused?

  41. Whether a frame-up or a cock-up…police, prosecution, the original judge failed in performing their duties and failed the victims and their families. You’d think that since the car was not burned-out by the murder gang, the police and prosecution would have an easy job of nailing the guilty. Instead sloppy police work ends up likely contaminating DNA samples and then the prosecution decides to use a new and basically untried DNA testing method and the original judge seems to have made things up as he went along (wasn’t this his last case before retiring from the bench? Good thing if so). You can read a summary of the appeal court decision in the link below…it spells out the failures quite well (though Kateyo does a good job):
    http://www.courtsni.gov.uk/en-gb/judicial%20decisions/summaryjudgments/documents/j_sj_150113/j_sj_r-v-shivers_150113.pdf

  42. The Detail printed part of the x-exam of the forensic investigators and from te excerpts, they sound like keystone cops:
    x-examining Ms Johnston, Mr Pownall asked: “Did you notice the matches that were on the seat?”
    Ms Johnston: “Yes, my Lord, I did notice them.”
    Mr Pownall: “I beg your pardon.”
    Ms Johnston: “I did notice them.”
    Mr Pownall: “Did you not think: well let’s remove those matches before I put the seat down?
    Ms Johnston: “No, my Lord, I’m afraid I didn’t consider that at the time.
    Mr Pownall: “Well, let’s just consider why that might have been a good idea. Do you think now it might have been a good idea?
    Ms Johnston: “Yes, my Lord, I’m afraid at the time I didn’t realise that they could be a potential source for DNA. So I had over looked them.”
    Questioned by Mr Pownall if she had not realised that the matches might have possessed crucial DNA, which could have potentially identified the killers, the SOCO examiner said:
    “No, my Lord, it’s a little embarrassing but, no, I did not know that they were a potential source for DNA until that time.”

    The investigator also ‘mis-remembers’ until presented with photographic evidence about putting the seat down ontop of the matches.

  43. Kateyo, I have not been following the Wootton and McConville case closely but whenever I do read about it, I think of the Guilford 4 case. I noticed on one of your links that Gerry Conlon was photographed leaving the courthouse with Paddy Joe Hill and has been watching the case closely. I met him once when he was only a few weeks out of jail when he spoke at a gathering of the Brehon Law Society…he looked so haunted then. I couldn’t imagine how he’d ever recover. It’s good to see he’s found a way to deal with what happened to him; over the years, reports said he had a tough time of it. It’s crazy if true that this is still going on…

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