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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

PSNI ‘compelled’ to produce collusion report

Posted by Jim on November 11, 2017

The PSNI is being ordered by a High Court judge to finalise and publish
an all-encompassing report into suspected British state collusion with
a loyalist unit behind more than 100 murders.

The judge, who has already ruled that the PSNI unlawfully frustrated
any chance of an effective investigation, insisted on the completion of
a thematic report into the so-called Glenanne Gang’s onslaught against
nationalists throughout the 1970s.

Lawyers for the families of victims brought the action as it emerged
that Mr Justice Treacy’s original verdict is set to be appealed.

Earlier this year the judge ruled that bereaved relatives were denied in
their legitimate expectation that the result of an overarching
investigation would be published.

In the High Court in Belfast on Tuesday, he said he would grant what is
called “an order of mandamus” that compels the PSNI Chief to conduct a
lawful investigation, and complete and publish the comprehensive
thematic report.

He also said witnesses and those bereaved by the gang were dying without
achieving any closure on suspected state collusion.

“The very sad inescapable fact is that while these debates rage on at
huge public expense, the victims’ families languish with no end in sight
and the ever increasing realisation that nothing much may happen in
their lifetime,” he said.

Judicial review proceedings were brought in the name of Edward Barnard.
Mr Barnard’s 13-year-old brother Patrick was among four people killed in
a St Patrick’s Day bomb attack on the Hillcrest Bar in Dungannon in
March, 1976.

Up to 120 murders in nearly 90 incidents in Mid Ulster and border areas
are under scrutiny. They include outrages such as the 1975 Miami
Showband Massacre, the Step Inn pub bombing in Keady, and the 1974
Dublin and Monaghan bombings.

Before drafting the terms of his order, the judge has given the PSNI a
week to confirm that there are no minutes or documents about the
decision not to complete the HET investigation.

Referring to the collusion allegations, he said: “I have no doubt that
for some families their confidence has been undermined by delays which
they believe are inimical to addressing their principal unresolved
concerns.

“In the meantime witnesses or potential witnesses are lost and family
members of the deceased die without any closure or resolution.”

The judge added: “Furthermore, the anxiety of the surviving family
members is not only undimmed but exacerbated by the delays of a system
that appears powerless to stop it.”

Sinn Fein’s Linda Dillon said it was a “hugely pivotal day” but
criticised the PSNI for their legal blocking efforts.

“These kind of actions are undermining the confidence levels in the PSNI
and new policing dispensation in the north,” she said.

“I am calling on the PSNI to comply with the judgement and provide the
necessary resources and facilitate an effective and independent
investigation so that the families can get access to truth and justice.”

Lawyer Darragh Mackin said it was a “landmark decision for the families
of the Glenanne gang in their pursuit of justice”.

“Not only has the court confirmed that the decision not to investigate
was unlawful but it has gone further to compel that such an
investigation is now conducted in line with our clients’ expectation,”
he said.

“We now urge the chief constable to put in place the mechanisms for such
an independent investigation without any further delay.”

Eugene Reavey, whose three brothers were murdered by the Glenanne Gang
in south Armagh in January 1976, said it was a “big day for us” and “a
big help to all the legacy cases, not just Glenanne”.

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