MARK Quinsey, 23 and Patrick Azimkar, 21 were both shot dead by the real IRA in March 2009 just outside the Massereene Barracks in Antrim (Northern Ireland) as they collected a pizza delivery. No less than 65 rounds were shot by the gunmen with automatic rifles.

Two men were soon arrested after these murders, Shivers (46) and Duffy (44). DNA tests revealed that both men were linked to the attack. Shivers’ DNA was discovered on two matches that were found on the back seat of the gateway car and had been used in an attempt to set it on fire. Duffy’s DNA was found on a latex glove tip in front of the passenger seat inside the gateway car and on the seat buckle.

Both men were tried together in Antrim Crown Court. On 20 January 2012 Shivers was convicted and Duffy was acquitted. It is hard to understand that although the two men’s DNA was found in the very car used in the attack, investigations have led to such contrasting decisions.

In the case of Shivers, Judge Anthony Hart outlined that he had lied as to his whereabouts on the night of the murders and that he had used the matches in an attempt to destroy the car and any evidence that might have led to the arrest of those involved. As a result he stated that the prosecution had proven beyond reasonable doubt that Shivers was involved in the attack. He was found guilty of six counts of attempted murder and possession of two firearms and ammunition with intent to endanger life.

Concerning Duffy, the judge could not find any corroborative evidence to support the finding of his DNA in the car. Since his arrest, Duffy had stated that he had no involvement in the attack and had remained silent. He refused to give evidence during his trial as he used his right not to incriminate himself, leaving the prosecution with the duty of proving him guilty. As the judge pointed out, the prosecution failed to show that Duffy actually took part in the attack and that he could convict him beyond reasonable doubt. He was therefore acquitted of all charges.

Chief Superintendent Peter Farrar has indicated that the investigation is not closed and that the PSNI will use “every legitimate avenue to pursue terrorist criminals”.