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Mrs Sarah Conlon

Volume 175: debated on Thursday 5 July 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what plans he has to compensate Mrs. Sarah Conlon for the false imprisonment of her husband, Giuseppe, and her son Gerard;(2) how much he plans to pay Mrs. Sarah Conlon for the cost of the return of her husband's body to Belfast.

I explained to the House on 14 June at column 454 that in the light of the view of the Director of Public Prosecutions the convictions of the Maguire family and their co-defendants are unsafe and unsatisfactory. The correct course would probably be for me to refer the case to the Court of Appeal, but I did not think it was right to do so until all the submissions on that issue had been presented to the May inquiry and Sir John May had had an opportunity to respond to them. As soon as I receive Sir John May's report on the relevant evidence so far presented to his inquiry, I will consider referring the cases to the Court of Appeal under section 17(i)(a) of the Criminal Appeal Act 1968.Should the late Mr. Giuseppe Conlon's conviction be set aside, I will consider any application which Mrs. Conlon may make for compensation in respect of her husband's conviction. The amount of any such payment would be determined by an independent assessor, who in reaching his decision would consider detailed submissions as to the matters to be taken into account.On the advice of the independent assessor, an interim payment of compensation has already been made to Mr. Gerard Conlon in respect of his wrongful conviction for offences arising out of the Guildford and Woolwich pub bombings. Further payment will be made on the advice of the independent assessor.