PSNI decision on MRF shootings ‘travesty of justice’

13 May 2014

The decision by the PSNI not to fully investigate shootings carried out by the secret plainclothes British army unit, the Military Reaction Force, is a ‘travesty of justice’ according to the PFC. Following a BBC Panorama programme broadcast in 2013 the Director of Public Prosecutions asked the PSNI to investigate the activities of this undercover squad, one of whom, Clive Williams, is now living under an assumed name in Australia.

PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Drew Harris has now written to the Prosecution Service to claim that the,

PSNI is of the view that none of the men featured have admitted to any criminal act or to having been involved in any of the incidents portrayed in this programme.”      

Padraig O’Muirigh, solicitor for the families of two men murdered by the MRF, Daniel Rooney and Patrick Mc Veigh, told Radio Foyle that he was ‘not surprised’ and that it appeared that the PSNI had not even bothered to interview former soldiers featured in the programme.

The PFC and Justice for the Forgotten supplied declassified documents from Kew to the Panorama team and last year published a report on undercover units including the MRF. We have also been in contact with the solicitor for the families and are supporting their efforts to alert Australian authorities to the implications of the Panorama programme for Clive Williams.

The PSNI decision reinforces our long held view that the PSNI cannot under any circumstances be trusted to carry out impartial, independent investigations into so-called ‘legacy or historic’ cases. The PSNI is institutionally incapable of investigating killings and shootings carried out by an army unit that was operating in support of the RUC and whose activities in the early seventies were covered up by the criminal justice system at all levels including the police. Any rigorous PSNI investigation would raise serious questions about the original RUC investigation.  

There are declassified documents which show extensive correspondence between the then DPP and the Attorney General following the ‘mistaken’ arrest of a MRF unit which had just carried out a random gun attack on civilians. We would therefore urge PPS Director Barra Mc Grory to demand access to all the files held by the prosecution service on the MRF since it is clear that the PSNI is unlikely open up its files on the matter.

The Haass recommendation that an independent investigative unit should be created led by a figure with no links to the PSNI is the only way to resolve these issues. PSNI involvement in this ongoing cover-up is doing huge damage to public confidence in current policing.  


Read report on undercover units.1.42 MB