Families Bereaved By The Glenanne Gang Still Waiting To Hear From PSNI
Pat Finucane Centre/Justice for the Forgotten | 05 September 2017
FAMILIES WAIT TO HEAR FROM PSNI
Five weeks since the High Court ordered the PSNI to meet with the Glenanne families, nothing has been heard.
The deadline of 4 September has passed without a word from the PSNI hierarchy or their lawyers.
By now, an agreement should have been reached on a way forward.
PSNI SILENT ON FAMILIES’ MAJOR LEGAL VICTORY
The Pat Finucane Centre/Justice for the Forgotten, and the bereaved families for whom we advocate, won a major legal victory in our battle for truth-recovery five weeks ago relating to the activities (and their cover-up) of the so-called “Glenanne Gang”.
The High Court in Belfast ruled that an independent report into collusion in the series of murders is essential to comply with the British government's obligations under the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR).
The report must, said the court, be compiled independently, with ring-fenced resources and have the confidence of families whom, the court said, the PSNI had treated with “extreme” unfairness..
In addition, said the court, the PSNI must engage with families in reaching agreement on how to comply with the court's ruling that the PSNI is in breach of their human rights.
The court set Monday, the start of the new legal term, 4 September, as the deadline for when this agreement must be reached – yet we have heard not a word from the PSNI. We collectively deplore this deafening silence in response to an un-ambiguous legal ruling.
Lawyers with KRW Law, acting for the families, have written to the Chief Constable of the PSNI, George Hamilton, and the Secretary of State, James Brokenshire MP. They too have yet to receive even the courtesy of a perfunctory acknowledgement.
The respondents have yet to begin discussions with the families as the court ordered - let alone reach agreement. This is a continuation of forty years-plus of official denial of the existence of collusion in the 120+ murders in the "Glenanne " series.
It is, frankly, insulting, unacceptable and damaging to public confidence in the PSNI.
The British government and the PSNI are, in effect, ignoring the binding legal obligations imposed upon them by the High Court and treating the bereaved families disgracefully.
Those acting for the families are fully prepared to engage in constructive talks on the best way forward. We are not prescriptive. We are willing to enter discussions to agree on the remedy the court has ordered with a view to reaching a mutually acceptable agreement.
Silence and obfuscation are no answer. Every day that passes is yet another day when the families are denied their rights under the ECHR. The PSNI's wrongful suppression of the thematic report, promised to the families by the Historical Enquiries Team (with whom the PFC engaged on their behalf) is compounded now by the PSNI’s silence.
The PSNI and the Northern Ireland Office cannot escape their legal obligations. They would be well-advised to engage with us as soon as possible in a spirit of co-operation.
We remain confident that the truth will be told, no matter what obstructions are put in our way. The families are on a long journey on the road to truth and no-one will stop them.