Murder case stalled due to legal aid rows

PACEMAKER BELFAST  06/07/2014'Fatal Stabbing Craigavon'Murder victim 40 year old Owen Creaney of victoria place Lurgan.Police believe Lurgan murder victim Owen Creaney, 40, attacked and left injured in Craigavon house before body hidden in wheelie bin. Photo 'Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST 06/07/2014'Fatal Stabbing Craigavon'Murder victim 40 year old Owen Creaney of victoria place Lurgan.Police believe Lurgan murder victim Owen Creaney, 40, attacked and left injured in Craigavon house before body hidden in wheelie bin. Photo 'Pacemaker Press

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At least ten brutal murder cases, including one concerning the local area, have been stalled because of the eight month dispute over legal aid.

It is estimated almost 600 criminal cases have been directly affected by the dispute between the legal profession and the Justice Minister over pay.

Among the most disturbing criminal cases currently on hold is that of 40-year-old Owen Creaney, a “vulnerable” disabled man who was viciously beaten and dumped into a wheelie bin in July 2014.

Police believe he may have been in the bin at the back of a house in Craigavon for several days before he was found.

Shauneen Boyle and Stephen Hughes are charged with murder.

Boyle, from Edenderry Park, Banbridge and Hughes, from Moyraverty Court, Craigavon, are jointly charged with the murder of 40-year-old Mr Creaney on a date unknown between 4 - 5 July 2014 and previous courts have heard how the pair blame each other for the killing in a so-called ‘cut throat defence.’

Earlier courts heard how the badly beaten body of Mr Creaney was found in a wheelie bin at the back of Hughes’ house after a report of suspicious activity, although police believe that he may have been in the bin for days.

Lagan Valley DUP MLA Paul Givan, who led a Stormont inquiry into the justice system’s treatment of victims and witnesses of crime, said it was “outrageous” that victims and families were being caught up in the pay row.