Two ex-RUC officers have been charged in connection with an alleged miscarriage of justice in Derry over 30 years ago.

John McGahan, 71, whose address was given as the PSNI headqaurters, Knock Road, Belfast, is charged with having perverted the course of justice by having taken a written statement from Gerald McGowan which was not his independent account of his involvement in the murder of  Lieutenant Steven Kirby, a British soldier shot dead by the IRA in Derry in 1979.

Meanwhile, Noel Philip Thompson, 64, of the same address, faces a charge of perverting the course of justice by recording a written statement after caution from Gerald McGowan which was not his independent account of his involvement in the shooting of Noel Smith in 1979.

All of the offences are alleged to have occurred on a date unknown between February 27, 1979 and March 2, 1979.

Both men had been due to appear at Derry Magistrates Court this morning, but neither attended the brief hearing.

A defence solicItor told the court that one of the defendants was 'working away', while another was 'on holiday outside the jurisdiction'.

Gerald McGowan was one of the so-called 'Derry Four', who were forced into admitting their involvement in the murder of Lt. Kirby after being beaten and tortured at Strand Road RUC station in 1979.

Both Thompson and McGahan are due to appear back in court on June 27 for a preliminary enquiry.

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