22 May 2022

Derry man charged with the murder of Lyra McKee is released on bail

A judge today said that while society is demanding justice in the case of the killing of Lyra McKee, justice 'is no good if it is seen to be biased or one sided or not scrupulously fair.'

District Judge Barney McElholm was speaking as he released 52-year-old Paul McIntyre, of Kinnego Park in Derry, on bail.

McIntyre is charged with the murder of Lyra McKee on April 18 last as well as a charge of possessing a weapon with intent to endanger life and professing to be or being a member of the IRA on the same date.

During his first appearance, several issues were raised by the defence regarding the height of the defendant as well as a report on the photographic evidence.

At today's hearing, a police officer said that they had ascertained the height of the person in some of the photographs as being the same as McIntyre by comparing the figure beside a lamppost.

She said the police had looked at gait evidence but decided to rely on clothing analysis as this had 'most merit' in this case.

She said police also considered build analysis but the person in the photos was wearing bulking clothing so there was little merit in that.

The officer also addressed the criticism made in the last hearing of the expert's conclusion that McIntyre was 'a suitable candidate' to match the person in the images.

The court was told that expert had found 'powerful support' in relation to some of the photos and 'strong support' in others that it was the same person.

She also told the court that she had spoken to a community support worker and also the person whose car had been hijacked and both said they did not know McIntyre and would not be giving evidence.

Defence solicitor Derwin Harvey said that in the sequence of photos that allegedly connected McIntyre to the murder there is no lamppost to measure against.

He said the only evidence particular to the murder charge was the clothing analysis.

The police officer said the photographic evidence showed someone police believed to be McIntyre carrying petrol bombs and then that person was linked to the murder on the basis of being a co-conspirator.

The officer said that there were 18 similarities on the clothing which she accepted was mass produced.

Mr Harvey said the main evidence in the prosecution case was the expert evidence of the photographs.

He called into question the expertise of the author of the report and queried whether the report had been added to.

Judge McElholm said that the defence would be entitled to see all the preliminary reports and any changes would have to be explained.

Mr Harvey said that there was no evidence linking the man kneeling down to the murder and said this man 'could have been tying his shoelaces'.

He argued there was nothing on the reports that had not been there when the High Court granted McIntyre bail in October.

Mr Harvey added that the prosecution had 'insurmountable obstacles' to get over.

The judge said: "This particular murder met with universal condemnation from society and the minority of people who did not condemn it I can't understand these people, they are barely human."

Stating justice must be fair, Judge McElholm said he had gone into the law because he did not like the 'way things were going in the 1970's'

He granted McIntyre bail with the added condition he report to police daily.

A prosecution barrister indicated they would be appealing the decision.

McIntyre will appear again on March 26.

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