Harte Coyle Collins, Solicitors & Solicitor Advocates, act on behalf of Mr Peter Greer who was convicted with Jamie Smith of the murder of Duncan Morrison, the attempted murder of Stephen Ritchie and possession of firearms before a jury at Newtownards Crown Court sitting in Downpatrick in March 2013. Mr Greer was sentenced to a 20 year tariff on 10th May 2013.
Mr Greer appealed his conviction and sentence to the Northern Ireland Court of Criminal Appeal in 2014. Judgment was originally delivered by the Court of Appeal on the 25th November 2014. He transferred legal teams and Harte Coyle Collins, Solicitors & Solicitor Advocates, mounted a further appeal against conviction in 2015. That second appeal was unsuccessful but the issue of joint enterprise was raised by the defence team, including Mr Kelly, as a live issue in the appeal. The firm continues to represent Mr Greer in an appeal against sentence which is ongoing, with a review before the court on the 4th March 2016.
The Crown case against Mr Greer at trial was that he provided a vehicle, the key to which was found in another vehicle which was connected to the crime scene. He voluntarily surrendered himself to the police 3 weeks after the shooting and advised police that he had simply loaned his car to another person. The prosecution at trial accepted that there was never any positive identification of Mr Greer which connected him to the crimes.
Solicitor acting for Mr Greer, Mr Diarmaid Kelly of Harte Coyle Collins, confirmed today that he has written to the Court of Appeal asking the Court to consider whether the ongoing appeal against sentence can be extended or converted to include an appeal against conviction in light of the recent Supreme Court judgment on joint enterprise. Mr Kelly confirmed that he expected a response on or before the 4th March or an indication in court on the 4th March when the case is next listed for hearing.
Mr Kelly stated today;
“This may be the first case in Northern Ireland in which the Court of Criminal Appeal is asked to apply the new interpretation of the law on joint enterprise following the landmark Supreme Court judgment this month. Our client was convicted of the principal offence of murder despite the absence of any direct evidential link between him and the crime scene. The other live issue is that the prosecution accepted during the jury trial that they were unable to subscribe any role to Mr Greer in relation to the murder, attempted murder or firearms offences. The clarification of the law on the issue of joint enterprise by the Supreme Court is a welcome development for the courts, juries, defendants and lawyers. This clarification now raises serious questions about the safety of Mr Greer’s convictions.”