Trial of two veterans accused of IRA leader murder collapses

Two former paratroopers accused of the murder of an Official IRA leader have been formally acquitted after prosecutors offered no further evidence at their trial. The veterans’ trial at Belfast Crown Court collapsed after the Public Prosecution Service confirmed it would not appeal against a decision by Mr Justice O’Hara to exclude statements given by the ex-soldiers about the shooting of Joe McCann in 1972. It was the first trial in several years that involved charges against former military personnel who served in the Northern Ireland conflict. Four other cases involving the prosecution of veterans are at the pre-trial stage in the region’s courts.