Ex-prisoner awaits ruling on rights

Patrick Mayhew

The European Court of Human Rights will decide later this week if a convicted murderer from Northern Ireland was denied justice over delays in decisions about the lawfulness of his detention.

Christopher Doherty, 55, from Belfast, is claiming his human rights were breached by the UK authorities because of the lack of speed taken in several reviews conducted over 11 years.

The case relates to the reviews of Doherty’s detention after he was recalled to prison to serve a mandatory life sentence following an earlier release on licence.

Doherty was released from prison on licence in April 1996 from a life sentence for murdering a pensioner.

However, it was revoked in March 1997 by order of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Patrick Mayhew following his arrest for alleged sexual offences against two young girls, aged nine and 13. A criminal prosecution was not taken to spare his alleged victims the ordeal of having to give evidence.

Mr Mayhew referred his case to the Life Sentence Review Board. His detention was reviewed on a several times between 1998 and 2000, with subsequent reviews up to his release in 2008.

The ECHR will give its ruling in the case on Thursday.


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