2011 Loughinisland report quashed

Published Thursday, 20 December 2012
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A High Court judge has quashed a former Police Ombudsman's report into the murder of six men in the Loughinisland massacre.

Mr Justice Treacy issued an order to scrap the disputed findings after being told the current watchdog, Dr Michael Maguire, consented to the move.

His ruling represents a victory for the victims' families, and paves the way for a new investigation into the shootings.

The six men who died, all Catholics, were killed when UVF gunmen went into the Height's Bar in rural Co Down in June 1994.

The killers opened fire indiscriminately as customers watched the Republic of Ireland play Italy in a World Cup football match.

Those shot dead included 87-year-old Barney Green, one of the oldest victims of the Troubles.

Also killed were Adrian Rogan, 34, Malcolm Jenkinson, 53, Daniel McCreanor, 59, Patrick O'Hare, 35, and Eamon Byrne, 39.

Five others were seriously wounded.

No one has been convicted of the murders, although 16 people have been arrested in connection with the attack.

Victims relatives suspect the RUC investigation was undermined in order to protect informants.

In June last year former Police Ombudsman Al Hutchinson found there was insufficient evidence of collusion between police and the loyalist gang.

He did identify failings in the investigation, criticising it for a lack of diligence, focus and leadership.

His report was branded a whitewash by the victims' families, who launched judicial review proceedings in a bid to have it overturned.

In court on Thursday, it was confirmed that Mr Hutchinson's successor, Dr Maguire, has now agreed to the relief sought.

David Scoffield QC, appearing for Dr Maguire, said: "The Ombudsman is not simply overturning his predecessor's statement.

"Rather, he is consenting to the court quashing that statement on limited grounds."

Mr Justice Treacy then confirmed he would make the order requested and awarded costs to the Loughinisland families.

He added: "Of course, everybody has acknowledged that the present Ombudsman has behaved very properly and promptly in addressing the matter in the way he has.

"The order for costs is no reflection on him."

Lawyers for the families described the outcome as a significant milestone in their campaign to establish the truth surrounding the atrocity.

Niall Murphy, of Kevin R Winters, said it was the first successful judicial review of a report by the Police Ombudsman's Office.

"Our clients strong criticisms, made immediately in the wake of the publication of the report in 2011, have been vindicated and they deserve credit for their perseverance and dedication to establishing the truth about what happened to their loved ones," he said.

"The decision also provides for a brand new re-investigation."

Emma Rogan, whose father Adrian was among those killed in the shootings, said the outcome vindicated the families' belief that the original report was flawed and irrational.

She added: "It is a disgrace that the onus was put on us to take the Office of the Police Ombudsman to the High Court to drag the truth out of the facts that only his office are aware of.

"The conclusion of Al Hutchinson's flawed report was that the complaint of collusion was ruled out due to insufficient evidence.

"The reason that there is insufficient evidence is that the RUC kept destroying the evidence."

© UTV News
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6 Comments
Mouncey in North Belfast wrote (487 days ago):
Usual, predicitable postings from Loyalists. It's as if the UDA/UVF killed no one during the troubles.
John in Co.Armagh wrote (489 days ago):
The only thing wrong with Al Hutchinson#s report ws it was not what the families wanted to hear,they want someone to blame other than the terrorist's that carried out the killings. seeing Catriona Ruane in the background leads me to only one conclusion that the families are not seeking justice for there loved ones only revenge driven on by Sinn Fein.
Ryan in Belfast wrote (490 days ago):
This, like many other cases, stinks of collusion between the RUC and Loyalist paramilitaries. When all this comes out about the collusion between the RUC/British Goverment and Loyalist paramilitaries, historians will be debating who the REAL terrorists really were. Now im not supporting IRA activities but what im saying is that the British Goverment acted in the same manner, such as dilberatey murdering INNOCENT catholic civilians, etc Its time the International Community had more involvement into these cases because we all know the British Goverment cant be trusted, they want to cover up their dirty work because it would be seriously politically damaging and it would actually prove Sinn Fein to be correct about state murder/collusion for decades.
Jj in Belfast wrote (490 days ago):
What about bloody friday and many more only loyalist and ruc being looked into its a joke
ja in belfast wrote (490 days ago):
Is this all the protestant people are going to hear now "loughinisland" and "bloodysunday" as you nationalist and republicans keep saying to the protestant protestors about the union- flag "get over it..its done" well right back at yous...now lets have public enquiries into the "IRA" atrocitys or is it just one sided here????
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