Published Thursday, 21 June 2012
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Liam Holden was found guilty of the murder of a British soldier 40 years ago, but the Court of Appeal overturned the Ballymurphy man's conviction due to the non-disclosure of his questioning by the military.
Mr Holden said he was threatened and subjected to water torture in order to force a confession from him for the shooting of paratrooper Private Frank Bell in west Belfast in September 1972.
He was due to hang, but later had his death sentence commuted to life imprisonment - he spent 17 years in jail before launching a bid to clear his name.
It had already been confirmed that the Director of Public Prosecutions would not be opposing the appeal after an assessment of evidence contained within a confidential annexe.
It showed that, by subjecting Mr Holden to hours of interrogation, the military flouted government guidelines that any suspects arrested by soldiers should immediately be handed over to the RUC for questioning.
Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan, sitting with Lord Justices Girvan and Coghlin, was told the rule was breached without anyone being informed at Mr Holden's trial.
The judge said: "We consider the appeal should be allowed because of the non-disclosure issues."
Mr Holden, now 58, was arrested by the Army on the day before his 19th birthday.
Mr Holden said that he was "content" now his guilty verdict has been overturned and added: "I think I'll be able to relax a bit now."
I've got my name cleared. The one thing I feel more than anything else is relief.
He told UTV: "It's taken 40 years of my life to get to this stage where I'm actually cleared of the murder.
"I don't look back and regret it or am bitter about it. I've no animosity, no regrets, no nothing.
"I've done 17 years in jail for being innocent and four weeks in the death cell was just part and parcel of what I had to go through to get to where I am now. There's nothing going to change the fact that I was sentenced to death."
It was revealed in court for the first time that soldiers requested that he be taken to a military command post at Blackmountain School for questioning.
His barrister, Barry Macdonald QC, said he was held there for hours before being handed over to the police.
"The only evidence against him was his own admission," Mr Macdonald said.
Capital punishment was abolished for murder in Great Britian in 1969 and in Northern Ireland in 1973.