Legal threat over Clegg TV `trial'

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The solicitor of Lee Clegg, the jailed paratrooper, was yesterday threatening legal action to prevent a television "mock trial" about the case being broadcast tonight.

Simon McKay is demanding to see a video of BBC1's Panorama programme - "The Trial of Private Clegg" - before it is screened. He said that, if he judged the programme to be prejudicial to his client's case, he may seek an injunction Mr McKay said: "I am gravely concerned about the potential nature of the programme, given its sensitive timing, and fear it could damage my client's case."

He said Clegg, who is serving a life sentence for the murder of teenage joyrider Karen Reilly, who was a passenger in a stolen car which failed to stop at an Army checkpoint in West Belfast, knew about the programme.

The "mock trial" will have barrister Michael Mansfield QC, making a case for the 26-year-old Bradford soldier to be kept in prison, while Sir Ivan Lawrence QC, argues for his release.

Mr Mansfield and Sir Ivan will question witnesses to the shooting, including people from the local community and supporters of Clegg. At the end of the programme, presenter David Dimbleby will ask a studio jury to deliver its verdict.

A spokesman for Panorama stressed the programme was not a retrial of Clegg. "However, for the first time, a cross section of the British public will be asked whether it is right that Private Clegg should stay in jail for the murder of Karen Reilly.".

Panorama was responsible for the documentary Lethal Force, which highlighted the shooting incident in 1990 in which Karen died, inferring it was part of a shoot-to-kill policy operated by Her Majesty's forces in Northern Ireland.