'Police didn't warn of fatal robbery'

Published Tuesday, 18 September 2012
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Police chiefs allegedly knew about an armed robbery which led to a pensioner being killed nearly 30 years ago but failed to give a proper warning in order to protect an informant, the High Court has heard.

'Police didn't warn of fatal robbery'
The judge ruled the claimant's argument should not be struck out. (© UTV)

The claim was made by a former RUC officer on Tuesday who is suing over a psychiatric disorder he says he suffered following exposure to the terrorist campaign in Northern Ireland.

Lawyers for the Chief Constable's office had sought an order to strike out part of the negligence lawsuit brought by Colin Keys.

But a Master at the High Court refused the application because the plaintiff's case is not bad enough to dismiss at this stage.

Mr Keys is one of 5,500 former and serving members of the RUC and PSNI who took a group action over post-traumatic stress suffered during exposure to the troubles in Northern Ireland.

The officers believed they secured victory five years ago when a judge ruled there had been systematic failures within the force.

But any hopes of a multi-million pound compensation award were then dealt a crushing blow when 10 test cases were rejected.

Following an unsuccessful appeal, some officers pressed ahead with renewed actions as personal litigants.

In one case Mr Keys has alleged operational failures on the part of the defendant, the Chief Constable, over policing operations during the attack on a Post Office at Pomeroy, Co Tyrone in November 1983.

Although the woman killed during the incident was not named in the judgment, records have confirmed she was 77-year-old Brigid Foster.

Setting out the PSNI application, Master Bell said: "The essence of the issue is that the plaintiff wishes to include in this action a claim for negligence to the effect that on 28 November 1983 an armed robbery occurred at Pomeroy Post Office when the plaintiff was exposed to an exchange of gunfire with armed terrorists and during which an elderly woman was killed and others were injured.

"The allegation is that the defendant knew about this armed robbery in advance and did not provide proper warning of the imminent attack to the plaintiff because the defendant wished to protect the identity of a police informant.

"The plaintiff claims that as a result he suffered psychiatric injury."

Ruling against the PSNI, Master Bell held: "I consider that the argument made by the plaintiff does not reach the point of being 'unarguable or almost incontestably bad'.

"It should not therefore be struck out by the court at this stage."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
bigmac in belfast wrote (860 days ago):
Dont they know its all part of the job which they could have left and no one made them take in the first place,maybe i should claim also for all the stress driving all round n.ireland at the height of the troubles getting stopped every couple of miles i never received a gold handshake for my trouble.
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