29 November 2005

Killer driver loses last appeal


Debbie McComb

A so-called joyrider has lost his last chance to get his conviction and jail sentence for killing a 15-year-old Belfast girl overturned.

Harry Marley, 22, of Colinward Street, had his application for leave to appeal to the House of Lords dismissed.

He was jailed for nine years in 2003 for causing the death of schoolgirl Debbie McComb by dangerous driving.

Debbie was knocked down by a stolen car on the Springfield Road in west Belfast in March 2002.

In the Appeal Court in Belfast, Marley's lawyer submitted that a point of law of general public importance arose out of his conviction.

He said the judge's address to the jury was unsatisfactory in regard to recognition and identification evidence.

Crown counsel said the issue was whether the jury's verdict was safe and the trial judge's address had adequately conveyed the need for caution.

Lord Chief Justice Sir Brian Kerr, sitting with Lord Justices Nicholson and Sheil, said they had not been persuaded that there was anything remotely approaching a point of law of public importance and refused to certify an appeal to the Lords.

At his trial, Marley was also given a consecutive sentence of three years for theft.

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