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Ex-terrorist murderer wins appeal against job sacking; Robinson in breach of Ministerial Code.

Byline: ALAN ERWIN

A HIGH Court judge yesterday quashed a decision to stop a convicted terrorist murderer continuing to work as a groundskeeper.

Mr Justice Maguire also held former First Minister Peter Robinson breached the Ministerial Code in 2007 when he did not continue with guidance on employing ex-convicts.

In a case brought by West Belfast man Martin Neeson he ruled Stormont's Department of Finance and Personnel should reconsider Mr Neeson's suitability for a job he carried out for 19 years.

Lawyers for the 58-year-old ex-prisoner declared the verdict a "resounding exoneration" for him and others in his position. He is also now expected to secure damages for loss of employment.

Mr Neeson was released from jail in 1987 after serving 11-anda-half years for a murder committed when he was 16.

No further details of the killing four decades ago were disclosed in court.

Mr Neeson also has convictions for belonging to a proscribed organisation and two of attempted murder.

Following his release he secured groundskeeper work with a conservation charity in Belfast's Poleglass area. But due to a change in the contract with the civil service he had to undergo security vetting.

Checks carried out by Access NI resulted in the Department of Finance and Personnel deciding in December 2014 he was unsuitable to continue in the role.

Outside court Mr Neeson's solicitor Niall Murphy said: "This is a resounding exoneration for the citizenship rights of the ex political prisoner community.

"That it also declares Peter Robinson breached the Ministerial Code is also a matter of grave concern."

irish@mgn.co.uk

"This is an exoneration for the rights of former political prisoners NIALL MURPHY ON HIGH COURT's DECISION

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COURT VICTORY Martin Neeson in Belfast yesterday

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 15, 2016
Words:292
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