Northern Ireland

Murder victims' family end legal challenge for information

Harry Holland
Image caption Harry Holland died in hospital a day after he was stabbed near his home

The family of a murdered greengrocer Harry Holland have ended their legal challenge over the Public Prosecution Service's (PPS) handling of the case.

They had wanted the PPS to give them more information on why they had reduced charges against two of the three teenagers convicted in connection with the 65-year-old's murder.

Mr Holland was stabbed near his home in Norfolk Drive in September 2007.

His family want to meet the Attorney General and the Justice minister.

Stephen McKee, 19, of Ballymurphy Road, Belfast, received a life sentence for the murder.

Patrick Crossan, 19, of Willowbank Gardens, and a girl aged 17, at the time of the attack were given lesser sentences after admitting other charges including affray.

Mr Holland's widow, Pauline, launched judicial review proceedings against the PPS amid claims that it has failed to honour commitments to inform her on how it pursued the case against the suspects.

A letter setting out the reasons was subsequently supplied to the family's legal representatives, leading to the case being discontinued at the High Court on Friday.

Their barrister, Ciaran White, said: "In that narrow sense the judicial review (application) we say has achieved what it sought to achieve."

Mr White added, however, that Mrs Holland "remains unhappy with the reasons" but understood the court could not go into those specifics.

After the proceedings were formally dismissed, Mr Holland's sister, Geraldine McAteer the family would be taking legal advice before deciding their next move.

"In my view we got a letter from the PPS which outlined to us their reasons for not proceeding with manslaughter charges.

"What we don't have are the full papers on which they made that decision."

Mrs McAteer said they have not been able to secure those documents from the police

She also said the family will now seek meetings with John Larkin, the new Attorney General for Northern Ireland, and Justice Minister David Ford.