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Saturday 19 April 2014

Retrial sought over teenager murder

Catholic schoolboy Michael McIlveen was kicked and beaten with a baseball bat in an alleyway in Ballymena (Family handout/PA)

Prosecutors have decided to seek a retrial of three men over the sectarian killing of Ballymena teenager Michael McIlveen.

The decision by the Public Prosecution Service to press for a new trial comes after the men's murder convictions were quashed by the Court of Appeal earlier this week.

The 15-year-old Catholic schoolboy was kicked and beaten with a baseball bat in an alleyway in the Co Antrim town in May 2006.

Aaron Wallace, 23, formerly of Moat Road in Ballymena, Christopher Kerr, 25, from Carnduff Drive in the town and Jeff Lewis, 22, of Rossdale, also in Ballymena, were convicted in May 2009.

But those guilty verdicts were ruled unsafe this week on the grounds that jurors had not been properly directed by the trial judge.

The PPS has now told the Court of Appeal that it wants to proceed with a re-trial.

A spokeswoman for the PPS said: "The PPS has informed the Court of Appeal of its intention to seek a retrial."

The court will sit in January to hear defence responses to the PPS's move before a ruling is made on whether a new trial will go ahead.

The three men remain in custody pending the outcome.

A fourth man, Mervyn Wilson Moon, 23, of Douglas Terrace, Ballymena, is serving a 10-year prison term after admitting involvement in the murder.

Press Association

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