'New info in some OTR cases' - PSNI

Published Friday, 18 July 2014
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New information has been found in some of the 'on the run' cases.

Police are re-examining hundreds of murder investigations on the back of the controversy.

Assistant Chief Drew Harris told UTV that his review, which commenced after a police blunder in the case of John Downey, could take up to four years - and denied it was a face-saving exercise.

He said: "It's not a face-saving exercise, rather it is a proper examination of these cases again as we have been asked to do in the Hallett report.

"We have accepted that recommendation and I have met with some of the families and assured them of our determination to put this mistake right, to actually revisit these cases and with fresh eyes look again at the evidential opportunities."

The development comes after Judge Hallett published the findings of her report into the OTR administrative scheme on Thursday.

She identified serious failings in the scheme - which let to letters being sent to some 200 fugitives - but said those letters "did not amount to an amnesty".

The review was ordered by Prime Minister David Cameron after the high-profile collapse of the case against a man accused of murdering four soldiers in the IRA's bombing of Hyde Park in 1982.

Mr Downey, 62 and from Co Donegal, had denied all the charges against him.

He walked free from the Old Bailey because he had wrongly been told in a letter, received in 2007, that he was not wanted by the Metropolitan Police.

Asked if he thinks there is a realistic prospect that court action will follow the re-examinations in some cases, ACC Harris said: "I'm always an optimist about police investigations.

"It is our job to go out there and seek out information, convert that to evidence, and I'm not going to signal any sort of defeat at this point in time."

The collapse of the Downey case prompted a major political row at Stormont earlier this year.

Former US diplomat Dr Richard Haass, who chaired talks between the five Executive parties on contentious issues, said it's time for them to get back around the table.

He tweeted: "Hallett report changes little. NI parties should return to table w/o further delay & negotiate comprehensive pact on parades, flags, & past."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
John in Co.Armagh wrote (197 days ago):
How come the new evidence came to light less than 24 hours after the report was published, seems to me the evidence, so if it is here now where was it along, hidden just to prop up the GFA for fear of offending certain elements within the peace process.
Trevor in Banbridge wrote (198 days ago):
I am fed up being fed the breadcrumbs of hope from the table the Republicans and British government have been dining at for years at the expense of truth. The only way the law abiding people will start to believe is when Republicans start to get jailed for real terms for their crimes. All those involved in the OTR letters can hide behind the usual coverup but I hope their guilt catches up with them
Jim in Carrickfergus wrote (198 days ago):
If they can be behind bars then work away green or orange no get out of jail free cards
Bla bla in Belfast wrote (198 days ago):
Then do your sworn duty and make arrests no matter who you upset!is it to much to ask people to do their job now!
truth in belfast wrote (198 days ago):
Lets see some arrests then.....or are the victims going to be walked over again to pacify ira terrorists
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