27/11/2001

Poyntzpass killers cleared of assault charge

Two County Down men convicted of the murders of two friends in Poyntzpass have been acquitted of causing grievous bodily harm to a Banbridge man.

Stephen McClean, 32, and Noel McCready, 34, were convicted last year for the murders of life-long friends Philip Allen and Damien Trainor in Poyntzpass in County Armagh in 1998.

The Catholic and Protestant men were both shot dead in the Railway Bar in a murder for which the paramilitary Loyalist Volunteer Force said it was responsible.

Clearing the men of the assault charge on Tuesday November 27, Mr Justice Girvan said that while Mr Butler was clearly the victim of an assault his evidence was unsatisfactory.

The men said following their acquittal in court on Tuesday November 27, they intended to appeal the decision to keep them in jail.

Last July McClean and McCready were released early under the terms of Good Friday Agreement political accord. However, while out of prison on home leave in July, they were arrested and accused of attacking Keith Butler, 40, from Banbridge in County Down during an argument over a loyalist paramilitary Ulster Volunteer Force flag. (AMcE)

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