Lawyer of the Week: Greg McCartney
Greg McCartney, a partner at McCartney & Casey, in Derry, acted for the journalist Eamonn MacDermott whose conviction for murder during the Troubles was quashed after fresh evidence. The Supreme Court ruled that he is entitled to compensation when it redefined "miscarriage of justice". What were the main challenges in this case and possible implications?
To win. It was a high-stakes case and the client was facing bankruptcy had we not succeeded. Another challenge was the volume of paperwork required in a tight timeframe. The entire resources of the firm had to be diverted to it. The judgment has implications for all victims of miscarriages of justice. Now the test is clear and wider than previously been the case. What was your worst day as a lawyer?
The day our colleague Rosemary Nelson was brutally murdered. What was your most memorable experience as a lawyer?
The day the Saville Report into Bloody Sunday was published. I represented the family of James Wray, who was killed after being shot twice in the back while defenceless on the ground. I have never experienced a roller-coaster of emotion quite like the feeling when his name was finally cleared. Who has been the most influential person in your life and why?
My parents whose calm strength and resilience in the face of the tragic loss of three sons drives me on.
My wife Sandra, whose supportive and uncomplaining nature gets me through the tough days.
My children who have mellowed me over the years.
Special mention must go to Tony Gifford, QC, for refusing me pupillage in 1984 which caused me to come back home and change from a career at the Bar to being a solicitor. I got my revenge by briefing him at the Saville Inquiry where I reminded him daily of his earlier snub. Why did you become a lawyer?
Being raised in Derry in the darkest days of the Troubles and witnessing first hand state injustice on a grand scale instilled me with a deep desire to produce change for the better. What would your advice be to anyone wanting a career in law?
Think before speaking. There are many times over the years I should have followed my own advice. If you had not become a lawyer, what would you have chosen and why?
Lead singer in a punk band but my voice wasn't even good enough for punk. Where do you see yourself in ten years?
I'll be kicking 60 so I hope to be looking at handing over my desk to my daughter Eleanor who qualifies as a solicitor soon while I disappear quietly into the background.