MASSEREENE TRIAL. IL RICORSO IN APPELLO DI BRIAN SHIVERS
Brian Shivers launches Massereene legal challenge (BBC News NI)
A terminally ill man jailed for murdering two soldiers at Massereene Army base in Antrim has launched a legal bid to overturn his conviction.
Brian Shivers has lodged papers to appeal the verdict that he was guilty of murdering Sappers Mark Quinsey, 23, and 21-year-old Patrick Azimkar.
His legal team claim he was wrongly punished and want an urgent hearing due to his severe medical condition.
The victims were shot by the Real IRA as they collected pizza in March 2009.
The shootings were carried out hours before the soldiers were due to be deployed to Afghanistan.
Shivers, 46, from Magherafelt, County Londonderry, was ordered to serve a minimum 25 years in prison after being convicted last month of the killings.
He was also found guilty of six counts of attempted murder and one of possession of two firearms and ammunition with intent to endanger life.
His co-accused, Colin Duffy, a 44-year-old republican from Lurgan, County Armagh, was acquitted of all charges, including the two murders.
It emerged during the trial that Shivers suffers from cystic fibrosis and has only a few years to live.
He was found guilty on the strength of a DNA link to matches found in the car used in the attack and then set alight.
Shivers was also found to have lied about his whereabouts and actions on the night of the murders.
‘Prominent and essential role’
The judge who convicted him accepted that he played a lesser role than the gunmen and driver of the Cavalier used in the attack.
But he stated that in setting fire to the vehicle Shivers “played a prominent and essential role in this carefully planned and ruthlessly executed crime”.
Shivers’ solicitor, Niall Murphy, of Kevin R Winters and Co, confirmed on Wednesday that an appeal against conviction was lodged this week.
He said: “We have further petitioned the Court of Appeal that it should be listed with as much expedition as is possible given our client’s severe medical condition.”
Explaining the reasons for mounting the challenge, Mr Murphy added: “We have petitioned the court in our grounds of appeal that the trial judge erred in law by misdirecting himself.
“Mr Shivers was wrongly convicted and punished since no conduct of his could constitute the offences of which he has been convicted.”