Representing Victims of Terrorism in South Armagh
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Justice Already Served

The recent revelations that the government has asked Naula O’Loan to re-investigate the alleged shoot to kill incidents of the 1980s. This raises a number of questions for victims namely at a time when the clear message from the government and police is to end historic inquiries who exactly has asked that these be looked at. Secondly since the officers involved no longer serve and Mrs. O’Loan has denied a number of cases already on these grounds are there two sets of rules? Thirdly when these issues have already been subject to intense police, judicial, academic and media scrutiny what possible benefit is there looking again at them. Indeed the matter was most satisfactorily dealt with by the late great Lord Chief Justice Maurice Gibson.

On 5 June 1984, Lord Justice Gibson when looking at one such case found the three RUC men involved not guilty. He launched a scathing attack on the DPP for bringing the case on the basis of such ‘tenuous evidence’. The defendants knew of the suspicion that the three were on their way to commit murder, of the probability that they were armed and that ‘both were dangerous terrorists who had let it be known that they would not be arrested alive’. He added: ‘There never was the slimmest chance that the Crown could have hoped to secure a conviction’. All that the trial had done, in his view, was to expose three members of an undercover police unit unnecessarily.

Gibson went on to commend the three RUC men: I wish to make it clear that, having heard the entire Crown case, I regard each of the accused as absolutely blameless in this matter. That finding should be put on their record along with my own commendation as to their courage and determination for bringing the three deceased men to justice, in this case, to the final court of justice. That ought to be the matter at an end, the families and terrorist supporters of these men have had their day in court they have had countless investigations and wasted enough British taxpayers’ money trying to justify themselves. Let us all be clear that these men embarked freely on a career of terrorism they abused denied and destroyed the lives and rights of others. It is absolute irony and hypocrisy to see their rights being championed while their victims lie cold and forgotten in the grave. Their elimation saved countless lives and as self professed soldiers they suffered the fate they planned for others, that is the purest form of justice.

For those who doubt the guilt of those killed let me assure you that I personally witnessed Mr. Grew at the murder of two policemen in Markethill and later gave the police a statement to that effect. They were laughing and patting each other on the back when driving off. They were mass murderers who could only be stopped one way and as victims we welcome the pro-active approach taken by the state. Perhaps if there had been more “shoot to kills” as they call them, there would be less innocent victims in our community. The police involved in these killings should be given a medal not put through another witch-hunt. We as victims have waited over thirty years for justice and truth and we have constantly been frustrated as the government procrastinates with one process after another. Yet when it wants we see direct political and governmental interference in this process with instruction being issued to the Police Ombudsman. This must end now with justice free from such interference and equally applied, we as victims of terrorism need to see the balance restored.


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