A DYING Limerick man is hoping to live long enough to see his conviction for robbery quashed in the UK next year.
Martin Foran from Kileely, who moved to England in the 1960s, claims to have been ‘fit-up’ and wrongly convicted by the now disbanded West Midlands Serious Crime Squad nearly 30 years ago.
Last week 69 year old Mr Foran, now living in Manchester, saw his case referred to the Court of Appeal after information emerged regarding a member of the notorious crime squad’s credibility, whose evidence had secured his conviction.
The Criminal Cases Review Commission said it had decided to refer Mr Foran’s convictions for robbery and conspiracy to rob to the Court of Appeal “because it believes that there is a real possibility the court will quash the convic-tions”.
It said that information not previously considered in proceedings against Mr Foran, had “come to light regarding the credibility of a police officer from the West Midlands Serious Crime Squad who was involved in the case against Mr Foran”.
“This information, and a re-assessment of other matters relating to the officer that have previously been raised on Mr Foran’s behalf, leads the commission to conclude that the officer’s credibility is tainted.
It added that “developments in case law mean that the fact that the evidence of a tainted officer is supported by an officer to whom no criticism is attached, is no longer sufficient to uphold a conviction”.
The decision will help to bring a 30 year campaign for justice to a close for Mr Foran - who lived in Birmingham in the late 70s and alleged that he had to leave “because of harassment” by the crime squad. While this latest appeal refers to his 1985 conviction - for which he spent eight years in jail - the Limerick man was first convicted in 1978 and in total spent 16 years in prison for crimes he claims he did not commit.
“I was no saint in the past, but I never done these crimes, what they accused me of,” the Kileely man, whose family still live in Limerick, told this newspaper after the review commission referred his case to the Court of Appeal.
“I didn’t do it and they knew it. It was a nightmare to be living in Birmingham after the IRA pub bombings. The only evidence against me was the word of one police officer,” he explained.
“They called me a liar and that I was trying to discredit an outstanding, brave officer, that it was false and malicious allegations. I was crucified by the judges.”
“It will be a relief, I can die in peace, and it is good for my family’s sake that my name is going to be cleared,” he said from his Manchester home, where he is bed-bound.
He added: “I would like to thank not only my family in Limerick who supported me down through the years, but the people of Limerick who sent endless letters of support and did a lot for me.”