Ireland Attorney general intervenes to challenge retrial ruling in Jason Corbett case

01:25  22 february  2020
01:25  22 february  2020 Source:   independent.ie

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Molly Martens Molly Martens The shock US court ruling granting a retrial for the killers of Irishman Jason Corbett is to be challenged by North Carolina’s attorney general.

The move was confirmed in papers filed in court today.

Attorney general Joshua Stein has sought a temporary stay on the order for a retrial of Mr Corbett’s father-in-law and wife, Tom and Molly Martens, while he appeals the decision.

In a 174-page submission, Mr Stein said he believed the two defendants received a fair trial, free from prejudicial error.

His intervention will be welcomed by the Corbett family, which was devastated by the ruling from North Carolina’s Court of Appeal earlier this month.

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That court found - by a majority two to one – there were deficiencies in the trial process which necessitated a retrial.

Molly Martens Molly Martens

One of the judges, Valerie Zachary, found there was “compounding evidentiary and instructional errors” before and during the three-week criminal trial.

She concluded the two defendants were “prevented from presenting a meaningful defence or from receiving the full benefit of their claims of self-defence and defence of a family member”.

The judge said that as a result of this the jury was denied critical evidence and rendered incapable of performing its constitutional function. Her ruling was supported by a second judge.

Limerick-born Mr Corbett (39), a father-of-two, died from head injuries after being struck with a brick and a baseball bat at the home he shared with Ms Martens, his second wife, in Wallburg, North Carolina in 2015.

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Britain's top law officer has intervened to try to stop an attempt to haul Tony Blair to court over the Iraq War. A judge ruled last November that Mr Blair had 'immunity' from criminal prosecution over the 2003 conflict and that any case could 'involve details being disclosed under the Official Secrets Act.'

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Ms Martens and her father, a former FBI agent, were both convicted of second degree murder after a trial in 2017. They both denied murder.


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