THREE Belfast men freed from jail on Monday following the collapse of a murder case against them are to take legal action against the RUC. Samuel Baker (26) of Summerhill Drive, Sean Valente, (25), Woodside View, and 25-year-old William Grove, Tullymore Gardens, had been in custody since last February charged with murdering leading loyalist Bobbie Dougan outside his shop at Dunmurry on the outskirts of Belfast. The case took on political implications when the British government, convinced that the IRA had killed Mr Dougan and another man in separate incidents, threw Sinn Fein out of peace talks in Dublin and banned the party from Stormont for a month. Sinn Fein spokesman Mitchel McLaughlin last night accused the RUC of manipulation of the men’s arrest in order to have the party ejected from the multi-party talks. “The RUC Chief Constable Ronnie Flanagan used the arrest of these three men as a basis for advising Mo Mowlam that the IRA was responsible for this shooting. Ms Mowlam then used this advice as justification for ejecting Sinn Fein from the Multi-Party Talks. “The decision taken in the court shows that the RUC didn’t have a shred of evidence to sustain the charges against these three innocent men let alone affect the progress of the peace talks with unsubstantiated allegations,” he said. Mr McLaughlin called on the chief constable to “explain the motivation for laying these unfounded charges and for the ill-informed advice given to Mo Mowlam which could have had dire consequences for the peace process”. An RUC spokeswoman said police would not comment on Mr McLaughlin statement saying the case was “a matter for the courts”. Solicitors for the men confirmed that they had been instructed to consider legal action for malicious prosecution. Samuel Baker is also alleging he was assaulted by police while being held at Castlereagh holding centre. A solicitor yesterday hit out the delay in freeing the men. The possibility of the murder charge being dropped was referred to in the high court last week during a bail application on behalf of Baker. The lawyer said the deputy director of public prosecutions had confirmed that a decision on whether or not to proceed with the case would be announced yesterday. In the event, the men’s remand appearance, due yesterday, was brought forward to Monday when the charge was withdrawn without explanation. Solicitor Eamann McMenamin, of Madden and Finucane, said: “From the outset we realised that there was little or no evidence to connect the accused with the murder charge. “The decision to withdraw the charge was precipitated by a series of strong correspondence from Madden and Finucane dating back to the original remand. “It was to the effect that there were no grounds for holding the men.” A judicial review is on-going in the high court over the men’s first appearance at the magistrates court.