Guildford Four lawyer Gareth Peirce to represent Hyde Park IRA bomb suspect
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Guildford Four lawyer Gareth Peirce to represent Hyde Park IRA bomb suspect

THE lawyer who helped free the Guildford Four and Birmingham Six is representing the Irish man accused of killing four British soldiers in the IRA’s Hyde Park bombings.

Gareth Peirce, who has more recently represented radical cleric Abu Qatada, is representing John Downey, 61, of Co Donegal.

Mr Downey has been charged with the 1982 killings, as well as causing an explosion, and was told yesterday at the Old Bailey that he will stand trial in November.

The news comes as Sinn Fein MP Pat Doherty travelled to London to meet Mr Downey and launch his party’s campaign to have the terrorism suspect freed without facing trial.

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“I visited John Downey in Belmarsh (Prison) this morning and assured him of Sinn Féin’s solidarity and support,” said Mr Docherty.

“I also met with John’s solicitor Gareth Peirce and am meeting with the Irish Embassy this afternoon to raise his case with them.”

“John was very relaxed and in good spirits despite the situation in which he has been placed through the latest instance of broken British commitments.

“I assured John that Sinn Féin will pursue every avenue available to us to hold the British Government to its commitments and secure his release.”

The MP added that as a part of the Weston Park negotiations, the British Government committed to resolving the position of on-the-runs, after which Mr Downey received a letter from the Northern Ireland Office stating he was not wanted by the PSNI or any British Police Force.