Northern Ireland

Aidan McAnespie: Soldier's lawyers to travel to England

Aidan McAnespie was shot as he walked through a checkpoint
Image caption Aidan McAnespie was shot as he walked through a checkpoint

Lawyers of a former soldier accused of the manslaughter of a Catholic man at an Army checkpoint 30 years ago, will travel to London to consult with him.

Aidan McAnespie, 23, was hit by one of three bullets fired from a machine gun in Aughnacloy, County Tyrone in 1988.

He was going to a Gaelic football match.

David Jonathon Holden, 49, whose address was given as his lawyer's office in Victoria Street, Belfast, is charged with unlawful killing.

More than 50 relatives and friends of Mr McAnespie attended the public gallery of Dungannon Magistrates' Court.

Representatives of the Pat Finucane Centre - a human rights group - were also there.

Mr Holden, a former Grenadier Guardsman, was 18 at the time of the incident. It is believed he now lives in England.

Image caption Mr McAnespie was walking through a border checkpoint when he was shot

His defence barrister said he and a colleague had been instructed but were yet to consult fully with their client.

That is expected to take place in London in the next six weeks.

He also indicated the case would likely proceed by way of preliminary investigation, in which prosecution evidence is to be challenged.

The witnesses required for this are to be identified in the coming weeks.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Crowds flocked to Mr McAnespie's funeral in 1988

A lawyer the prosecution confirmed the position had been brought to his attention in advance and he had no issue with an adjournment.

He confirmed: "The prosecution is keen to move this case forward."

The judge listed the case for mention on 20 March.

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