Arlene (the green crocodile) Foster ‘should be held fully liable for legal costs’.

Arlene Foster was first minister at the time the decision to block the funding was taken.

A lawyer for Arlene Foster has said she should not have to pay the costs of a successful legal action against her.

Last week a judge ruled that the former first minister’s decision to block funding for a legacy inquests plan was unlawful and flawed.

The Attorney General said that as she was no longer first minister she had no ministerial responsibility.

John Larkin QC added that she should not be liable for any damages awarded to the person who took the case.

He said this was because an allegation of discrimination had been rejected by the court.

Foster decision on inquests ‘unlawful and flawed’
However a lawyer for the woman who took the case argued that the leader of the DUP should have to pay costs because she was the “main culprit”.

Brigid Hughes challenged the failure by Stormont’s executive office, the justice department and the secretary of state to put in place adequate funding to prevent further delays in holding legacy inquests.

Her husband, Anthony, was a civilian shot dead along with eight members of the IRA in May 1987 by the SAS as republicans attacked Loughgall police station in County Armagh.

Judge Sir Paul Girvan last week ruled in her favour.

He said Mrs Foster was wrong to think the decision on funding a proposal from the Lord Chief Justice for dealing with legacy inquests could be postponed until after a wider political agreement on dealing with the past.

At a hearing to determine costs and other issues on Friday, lawyers for the executive office, the justice department and the secretary of state also argued that they should not have to foot the bill.

At one point the judge said: “The long and the short of is that the various parties failed to progress this issue.”

‘Main culprit in all this’
Barry Macdonald QC, representing Mrs Hughes, rejected the arguments and said his client had won her case and was therefore entitled to have her legal bill paid.

He said those paying should include the leader of the DUP.

“The former first minister was really the main culprit in all this,” he told the court.

“She blocked consideration of the proposal, she promoted the notion that it was permissible and lawful to withhold funding for legacy inquests pending a resolution of overall legacy issues.

“Costs are appropriate against her.”

Last week the judge also ruled that the secretary of state and relevant Stormont departments must now reconsider the issue of funding for Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan’s plan to deal with all legacy inquests within five years.

Lawyers for the secretary of state, the justice department and the executive office argued he should not issue a court order compelling their clients to reconsider.

Image caption
Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan called for extra funding for inquests
They said there was no need to do so as they were public authorities and would therefore comply with his judgement.

But Mr Macdonald insisted there was a need for an order because the response of those named in the legal action demonstrated that they had “failed to recognise their responsibilities”.

“An element of compulsion is necessary because any party failing to act would be in contempt of court,” he said.

‘Lack of transparency’
The judge also referenced comments by the head of Northern Ireland’s civil service, David Sterling, who earlier this week revealed there was a policy of not taking minutes at some meetings.

Speaking at the inquiry into the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme he said this was so the details would not be available under Freedom of Information, and to avoid potential embarrassment to DUP and Sinn Féin ministers.

Discussing Barry Macdonald QC’s submission that there should be an order compelling compliance with the judgement issued last week, Sir Paul Girvan said: “Unless you have a more intrusive order you will end up with a perpetuation of nothing happening – in a context where there’s a lack of transparency of how decisions are reached because it might embarrass somebody.”

The judge will deliver his ruling on costs and the next steps to be taken by the relevant authorities later this month.

With many thanks to: BBCNI for the origional story.

 

THOMPSON INQUEST DAY 2: British soldier who murdered Derry mother-of-six wept in dock then failed to provide names to assist inquest

THOMPSON INQUEST DAY TWO

A former British soldier responsible for shooting dead a Derry mother-of-six wept in the dock as he expressed regret for the killing but failed to provide names of other army personnel who could assist the inquest into her death.

Kathleen Thompson, 47, was shot dead in the back garden at her Rathlin Drive home in Creggan by a bullet fired by a British soldier on November 6, 1971.

Around midnight on the night Ms Thompson was shot dead, members of the Royal Green Jacket Regiment carried out a raid on a house in Rathlin Drive.

Shortly after the raid Mrs Thompson was found dead in her garden, where she had been discovered by her husband, Patrick, and daughter, Minty, who was 12-years-old at the time. Mrs Thompson had been killed by a high velocity bullet that had struck her in the chest.

Today, her family came face to face with the soldier responsible for firing the fatal shot, known only as Soldier D, as he gave evidence at the inquest into Ms Thompson’s death. Presiding over the inquest is Coroner Sandra Crawford.

Soldier D, who has been granted anonymity, gave his evidence screened off from the rest of the court but visible to the Thompson family.

Soldier D confirmed that he had shot a total of eight rounds. He said he shot the first two rounds into the Thompson’s back garden at what he said he believed was a someone with a gun. He said he believed he observed a ‘a flash and a bang’ at ‘the periphery’ of his vision and that he then saw a ‘vague outline’ of a ‘head, arms and torso’ behind the fence.

In a statement made directly after the incident in 1971, Soldier D had also stated that he shot another six times at what he believed to have been the source from which explosive objects had been thrown at him.

However, a statement by Soldier A, who was alongside Soldier D at the time of the incident, was admitted to the inquest as evidence.

Soldier A said he had told Soldier D to stop firing and move on and that the subsequent six shots fired after the two into Mrs Thompson’s back yard, Soldier D had mistakenly fired upon his own troops.

Soldier D, in a later statement to the Historical Enquiries Team in 2010, claimed he could not remember firing the subsequent eight shots after the first two. However, he conceded that the account given in 1971 where he admitted firing eight shots would be the most accurate account due to its contemporaneous nature.

Soldier D said the incident involving Mrs Thompson had been the only incident in his army career where he had ever fired a shot and where there was a fatality. He admitted he had been questioned after the incident but that no further action was taken by the army either in relation to Mrs Thompson’s death or the allegation that he had mistakenly fired on his own troops.

Gerry McAlinden QC, legal representative for the Coroner Service, asked Soldier D if he accepted that it was his bullet that had struck and killed Mrs Thompson.

He replied: “I certainly do have to accept that very possibility, but I was aiming at what I thought was someone discharging a weapon at me.

“I would be appalled if it was me who was responsible.”

At this point, Mr McAlinden asked Soldier D if it was his intention to kill Mrs Thompson to which he replied, “Of course not.”

He then asked Soldier D if he regretted his actions. Thompson family members, who had a view of Soldier D, confirmed that he became emotional at this point and answered by nodding.

Full file
After a short recess, Karen Quinlivan QC, questioned Soldier D in relation to a letter he had sent Chief Constable of the PSNI in 2002 concerned about a request by Mark Durkan, an MP for the SDLP at the time, to see the full file on the Kathleen Thompson case.

In the letter, Soldier D had referred to being informed by other former soldiers and colleagues about articles regarding the case in local newspapers, the Derry News and Derry Journal.

She asked Soldier D who had told him about this as the paper would have only been available locally.

He said he could not remember any of the names of his former colleagues from the Royal Green Jacket Regiment, which he had earlier described as a ‘family’.

He then said the information may have come from soldiers who married women from Derry. When asked about the other soldiers that gave evidence about the incident that involved the fatal shooting of Mrs Thompson, Soldier D again said that he could not recall anyone’s name. He also said he could not remember the names of anyone who had been selected to be trained as promising young soldiers, of which he was one of 30, in a special platoon.

Ms Quinlivan put it to Soldier D that, given this was the only time that he had ever discharged a live weapon in an operation and that it had resulted in a fatality, this was ‘not a forgettable incident’ and that he would recall at least some of the names of the soldiers present that night.

She also suggested that he was being deliberately obstructive to the inquest by failing to give names that would provide assistance. However, Soldier D claimed he just could not remember anyone’s names.

Ms Quinlivan also questioned him on the six shots fired after the first two into the back garden of the Thompson family. She pointed out that on his annual report and employment sheet dated August 1971 to August 1972, that Soldier D had lost his place on the junior NCO (non-commissioned officer) cadre due to an ‘unfortunate incident’.

Promotion
Ms Quinlivan asked: “Is there any chance you lost your place for shooting Kathleen Thompson or because Soldier A said you were shooting at your own platoon?”

Soldier D said he didn’t recall that and repeatedly told the court how he had been promoted.

He said: “I can’t understand this, if you check my records you will see I was promoted.”

Ms Quinlivan replied: “We know that in Northern Ireland soldiers are promoted after firing fatal shots.” She then made reference to Bloody Sunday by way of proof.

She also asserted that what Soldier D had fired six shots at was his own troops deploying CS gas.

She pointed out that someone would have been ‘super-human’ to have thrown an explosive device 130m, citing the World Record for the javelin throw at 104m while the discus was 74m.

Ms Quinlivan added that, even if the shots had been aimed at someone who had thrown something, this was a breach of the ‘yellow card’ rules of engagement as once the items had been thrown there was no further threat.

The inquest continues. See Thursday’s Derry News for comprehensive coverage.

With many thanks to: Derry Now for the origional story.

 

Decision not to prosecute British soldier in murder of boy ‘flawed reasoning’

A DECISION not to prosecute the British soldier who shot dead a teenager in Derry 46 years ago was based on “irredeemably flawed” reasoning, the High Court has ruled.

*SCHOOLBOY Daniel Hegarty pictured with his sister Kathleen sitting on a motorbike in the Creggan estate.

Judges held that former Director of Public Prosecutions Barra McGrory imposed too stringent an evidential test for the murder of Daniel Hegarty. Quashing his decision, they also ruled that a four-year delay in reaching it was “manifestly excessive, inexplicable, unjustified and unlawful”.

The verdict represents victory in the legal challenge mounted by relatives of the 15-year-old schoolboy. Daniel was unarmed when he was shot twice in the head during an army operation in the Creggan area of the city in July 1972. In 2011 an inquest jury unanimously found Daniel posed no risk and had been shot without warning. Prompting the coroner to refer the case back to the Public Prosecution Service.

But in March 2016 it was decided not to pursue charges against Soldier B, who fired the fatal rounds, on the basis of no reasonable prospect of a conviction. According to the PPS, forensic experts were unable to state that ballistics evidence was inconsistent with Soldier B’s account of the circumstances in which he fired. Daniel’s sister, Margaret Brady, then issued judicial review proceedings against the decision taken by the then director.

Her senior counsel, Michael Mansfield QC, argued that expert evidence completely refutes assertions that the bullets were fired in self-defence. Instead, he contended, the scientific opinion backed the family’s belief that it was an unlawful killing carried out at a range of less than 10 feet. In a statement the soldier claimed to have pulled the trigger on the machine gun while it was on the ground – an account Daniel’s family allege was contrived to suggest fear of a non-existent threat.

The court heard two conflicting narratives about the events leading up to the shooting. Soldier B, backed by a military colleague, portrayed a situation where they issued clear warning as aggrieved, threatening youths approached before opening fire from a distance of some 25 metres. But in a different scenario advanced by others at the scene the youths were not warned or challenged, only becoming aware of the soldiers presence when shots rang out at point blank range. referring to expert evidence. Mr Mansfield contended that Soldier B’s self-defence assertion lacked any credibility.

Although he accepted a conviction could not be guaranteed, the barrister nevertheless claimed a jury may establish proof beyond reasonable doubt. Counsel for the director agreed that the case was subjected to close forensic analysis, with two expert reports and advice from senior counsel. He also stressed the high threshold required to rebut the soldier’s claims, and to establish perversity in the decision-making process.

But Lord Justice Treacy, sitting with Mr Justice Colton, pointed out that the Public Prosecution Service only needs to be satisfied there is credible evidence which could be proved – not that there will definitely be a conviction. Referring to expert conclusions provided in November 2012, he said: “Had the decision been taken at that time it seems inevitable in light of the scientific evidence and the legal advice that the director must have concluded that the test for prosecution was then satisfied.” Ruling that the director imposed too stringent a test, the judge continued: “We consider that the reasoning leading to the impugned decision not to prosecute is irredeemably flawed. ” In particular the decision of the director is founded on an unreasonable and rationally unsustainable hypothesis which is inconsistent with the case made by Soldier B.”

With many thanks to: The Irish News for the origional story.

 

Please could this be shared far and wide it is very important for Justice and closure thankyou

I know this a long shot but i trying to reach film crews and photogrophers who covered the murders off our mummy Maura Meehan and her sister Dorothy Maguire on the 23rd of October 1971 in Omar st on the lower falls

. I know that film crews and photographers came from all over the world France America Germany and many more .On one off the fotos my brother shared was the name Victor Patterson if anyone knows his where abouts or if by some miricle he reads this please get in touch.

Im trying to get what ever footage and fotos i can to help with our case to have our mummy and aunt dorothys names cleared. Everyone on my friends list and their friends and friends off friends could you PLEASE PLEASE SHARE this for me and help find what im looking for .THANK YOU ALL in advance xx

With many thanks to: Margaret Kennedy for the origional post.

Troubles inquests which could be affected by RUC/PSNI disclosure revelations

Henry Thornton (29) was shot dead by a British soldier in West Belfast in August 1971

COMPLETED inquests which could be impacted by the revelation the PSNI did not disclose military intelligence material in its possession since 2007.

Henry Thornton (29), from Silverbridge, Co Armagh, was working in west Belfast in August 1971 when he was shot dead by a solider close to Springfield Road RUC station after the van he was driving backfired.
The British army issued a statement claiming that two shots had been fired from the van, and the original inquest returned an open verdict.

Following a fresh inquest coroner Brian Sherrard found in June 2016 that the shooting of the father-of-six was not “necessary, reasonable or proportionate”. His widow Mary welcomed the findings.

Mary Thornton (widow) and Damian Thornton (son) of Henry Thornton
Barney Watt (28) was shot dead during rioting in Ardoyne in February 1971, with British soldiers claiming he was throwing a device at military personel.

In April 2017 coroner Joe McCrisken said he was “satisfied, based upon the evidence available to me at inquest, that Barney Watt was not the man described by the soldiers holding the explosive device”. Mr Watt’s widow Teresa said at the time she was glad to have her husband’s name cleared.

Joseph Parker (25) was fatally shot in the thighs after a patrol of soldiers entered a dance at Toby’s Hall in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast in December 1971. He had an 18-month-old daughter and his wife was heavily pregnant at the time.
In November last year coroner Joseph McCrisken said he was “satisfied that the force used against Joseph Parker was not justified since he posed no threat to members of the patrol”. His wife Dorothy died before the inquest was completed.

Toby’s Hall

Joseph Parker was shot dead at Toby’s dance hall (pictured above) in Ardoyne in north Belfast in 1971
Marian Brown (17) was shot in the neck moments after kissing her boyfriend goodnight at Roden Street in Belfast in June 1972. The teen, who was pregnant at the time, was struck by a stray bullet amid an alleged exchange of gunfire between an army patrol and at least one paramilitary gunman.
Following a fresh inquest, Judge David McFarland is due to deliver his findings in the case later this year.

17-year-old Marian Brown was shot dead in West Belfast in 1972

With many thanks to: The Irish News for the origional story

DETAILS FOR THIS YEARS BLOODY SUNDAY MARCH – SCOTLAND

DETAILS FOR THIS YEARS BLOODY SUNDAY MARCH SCOTLAND

With many thanks to: Wosba, Sands Devlin Cumann