26th January 2004;
Harte Coyle Collins, Solicitors & Solicitor Advocates, acting on behalf of Mrs. Sharon Lee today confirmed that the Crown offered no evidence in respect of the attempted murder charge against Mrs Lee at Belfast Crown Court.
In the case against Mrs Lee the Crown alleged that she had attempted to murder a traveler who was shot and wounded on the 6th June 2002. The attempted murder was alleged by the Crown to have been committed during a travelers’ feud. Mrs. Lee was in court this morning to see the DPP offer no evidence. The DPP relied upon recent evidental issues as a basis for not proceeding with the prosecution which has been hanging over Mrs. Lee head since June 2002.
After being present for the directed acquittal Ms Lee said:
“I am delighted that justice has been done today. What I am concerned about however is how long it has taken. This false allegation hs been hanging over my head since June 2002. It has caused unbearable stress to me and my family. Had it not been for my legal team pushing to uncover the documents and materials which have resulted on the DPP offering no evidence this morning, I may have ended up in prison. I will be seeking their advice on a civil action for malicious prosecution.”
Patricia Coyle of Harte Coyle Collins said today:
“The current operation of the disclosure rules in serious criminal cases under the Criminal Investigations and Procedures Act 1996 requires comprehensive review. Whatever the theory of this legislation the operation in practice is flawed and will undoubtedly, and may already have, lead to unsafe convictions in cases where the defence does not have access to essential disclosure materials.”