History-making judicial review into mass murder starts at Belfast High Court

07 May 2015

Today (Thurs, 7 May 2015) a supporting legal action begins in the High Court as lawyers acting for the families of 120 people challenge the British government and the PSNI. At the centre of the action is a thematic report into collusion between members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, the Ulster Defence Regiment and loyalist paramilitaries - 80% of which was already written by a senior investigating officer (SIO) at the Historical Enquiries Team, when it was dramatically halted.

“The biggest involvement of state agents in mass murder on British soil” (statement by QC at Belfast Coroner’s Court, March 2015 [1])

The murders include high-profile cases such as the Dublin/Monaghan bombings, the Miami Showband Massacre, the murders of the three Reavey brothers, the Hillcrest Bar bombing (Dungannon) of March 1976 (three dead) and the Killyliss explosion (three family members and an unborn child killed). 

But they also include the murders of dozens of others on both sides of the border.

Those responsible include over 20 either serving or former members of either the Royal Ulster Constabulary, the Ulster Defence Regiment and other state institutions including the Territorial Army and the Ministry of Defence Police.

The UVF men involved include at least one established RUC agent, Robin Jackson, and other notorious paramilitaries who, the families say, were allowed to murder at will on both sides of the border during the 1970s.

Some of those brought to court faced unaccountably minor charges and in at least three cases the security force status of those involved was hidden from the judge, the families and the public. In many cases, weapons stolen from UDR armouries were used in multiple murders.

The families’ case against the authorities will be outlined in court on Thursday 7 May by Danny Friedman, QC [2]. Many family members from both sides of the border are expected to attend court along with staff from The Pat Finucane Centre whose best-selling book Lethal Allies: British Collusion in Ireland has been accepted as a legal exhibit.

The legal hearing, in the name of lead case Eddie Barnard [3], begins at 10am in the Royal Courts of Justice, Chichester Street, Belfast.