SINN Fein president Gerry Adams has called on the Attorney General to review the 'supergrass' case involving the double murder of Portadown teenagers Andrew Robb and David McIlwaine.
Mr Adams has told Baroness Scotland he has grave concerns over the conduct of the prosecution of Mark Burcombe who was present when the 19-year-olds were stabbed to death near Tandragee in February 2000.
Burcombe (27) worked out a deal with the prosecutors when he pleaded guilty to conspiring to cause grievous bodily harm to Andrew Robb and was sentenced to two and a half years in prison.
He will give evidence against another man - Steven Brown, also known as Steven Revels - who is accused of murdering the two young men. Burcombe had been charged with the murders, but due to the deal, and taking into account the amount of time already served, he would be eligible for release soon after his sentencing.
The Robb and McIlwaine families have objected vehemently to the deal, claiming that Burcombe played a role in the killings and that the Crown case should have been strong enough without his evidence.
Burcombe told the police he was not aware that the teenagers would be killed.
He argued he thought Andrew Robb would be beaten for remarks about Richard Jameson who had been murdered by the LVF a month earlier, but instead both teenagers were stabbed repeatedly. One of their killers, Noel Dillon, later took his own life.
Gerry Adams told the Attorney General, “All records before the courts on this crime verify it was a barbaric act.”
And he added that he shared the McIlwaine family’s concern that a state agent was linked to the murders and was being protected.
“It has also been alleged that other individuals were involved in the commissioning of the murder of David McIlwaine and Andrew Robb and concealing evidence,” Mr Adams added.
He challenged the Attorney General, “With regard to the PPS, I would ask you to review the prosecution’s handling of this case, particularly with regards to the completeness of Burcombe’s account in respect of this crime and other crimes.”
The Sinn Fein president said the PSNI has been given other information which would question whether Burcombe had given a complete statement about the murders and asked the Attorney General to look at the length of the sentence imposed, “in light of the barbaric nature of the crime”.
Conspiracy to commit GBH would normally carry a longer sentence, but the judge said he had to take into account Burcombe’s cooperation with the police.