Marvin Canning 'left in financial ruin by unfair trial'

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A brother-in-law of Martin McGuinness was "financially ruined" by a kidnapping prosecution which was dropped, his solicitor has said.

Marvin Canning's trial on charges of kidnapping and shooting a businessman from Mullingar was halted last week after a judge said it was "unfair".

Prosecutors told Belfast Crown Court on Wednesday they would not appeal against the judge's decision.

His solicitor said prosecutors ignored key aspects of the trial process.

'Nightmare'

"To say that the carriage of this case is flawed is an understatement," said Niall Murphy of legal firm Kevin Winters and Company.

"The protections that we as a society automatically expect of the trial process were duly ignored, and safeguards such as the stringent obligations of the disclosure regime, which is enshrined in statute, were abandoned."

The lawyer said the 48-year-old, who was a building contractor, would try to "rebuild his life and business, with the nightmare of this trial now behind him".

Mr Justice McCloskey told Belfast Crown Court last week that late disclosure of "pivotal" statements by prosecutors meant the trial was unfair.

'Unprecedented'

The judge said while it did not equate to a formal acquittal, inconsistencies in the evidence meant he would not have convicted him of the charges anyway.

He said the late disclosure was "on such a scale which is probably, and hopefully, unprecedented".

"It is to be expected of the chief constable that the organisations of cases are to be scrupulously investigated to identify any weaknesses in the police system so as to ensure that there would be no comparable recurrence," the judge added.

Mr Murphy said on Wednesday: "The trial judge properly ensured that the ultimate sanction was imposed for these persistent failings and flaws by the PPS and police in staying this prosecution.

"For that final protection, Mr Canning is grateful."

A police spokesperson said police had a duty to investigate serious crime.

The spokesperson added: "Anyone who is unhappy with police action should contact the office of the police ombudsman."

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