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Case against former soldier accused of Aidan McAnespie killing adjourned

LAWYERS acting for a former soldier accused of the manslaughter of Aidan McAnespie 30 years ago are to travel to London to consult with him.

Over 50 relatives and friends of Mr McAnespie – who was 23 when he died – packed into the public gallery of Dungannon Magistrates Court, many of whom were required to stand after seating ran out.

Representatives of the Pat Finucane Centre were also in attendance at the hearing on Wednesday morning.

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David Jonathan Holden (49) whose address was given as his solicitor’s office in Victoria Street Belfast, stands charged with unlawfully killing Mr McAnespie on February 21, 1988.

The court heard Aidan McAnespie was shot dead as he walked through an army checkpoint in Aughnacloy.

Defence barrister Ian Turkington advised the court that he and Frank O’Donohoe QC have been instructed but are yet to consult fully with Holden.

That is expected to take place in London in the next six weeks.

Mr Turkington also indicated the case will likely proceed by way of preliminary investigation, in which prosecution evidence is to be challenged.

The witnesses required for this are to be identified in the coming weeks.

A lawyer appearing for the prosecution confirmed the position had been brought to his attention in advance and he had no issue with an adjournment.

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He confirmed, “The prosecution is keen to move this case forward.”

District Judge John Meehan listed the case for mention on March 20.

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