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May – 18 – 2011
…THE INQUEST into the killing by the SAS of Martin McCaughey and Dessie Grew in October 1990 must fully and thoroughly investigate allegations of a shoot-to-kill operation by the SAS, the Supreme Court ruled today.
Solicitors Madden & Finucane described it as “a major victory” for the men’s families.
The Supreme Court, by a majority of 6 to 1, has now ruled that the families can rely upon their Article 2 rights which means that the inquest must not only investigate whether individual soldiers acted unlawfully in shooting Martin McCaughey and Dessie Grew but must also fully and thoroughly investigate allegations of a shoot-to-kill operation by the SAS.
Fearghal Shiels of Madden & Finucane, Solicitors, which successfully brought the case on behalf of both families, said:
This decision represents a major victory for the families, not just in this case but in other historic inquests in which the state is implicated. It means that where allegations of a shoot-to-kill policy have been made these must be thoroughly investigated by the coroner.
The families of Gervaise McKerr, Eugene Toman and Seán Burns, whose deaths were investigated by the Stalker/Sampson team, will benefit from this far-reaching ruling as will many others.
Peter McCaughey, Martin McCaughey’s brother, speaking on behalf of his mother, the applicant in these proceedings, welcomed the decision:
Our family have always believed that our brother Martin was deliberately targeted and murdered by members of the SAS.
We have waited over 20 years for an inquest into Martin’s death and at last we will have an inquest which investigates not only whether individual soldiers unlawfully killed my brother but whether the SAS deliberately set out to kill Martin and Dessie Grew.
We hope now that any restrictions on the scope of the coroner’s investigation have been lifted that we will finally get justice for Martin and Dessie.
This is the second time the family of Martin McCaughey has successfully brought an important legal challenge against the PSNI in relation to inquests.
In March 2007, the House of Lords ruled that the PSNI Chief Constable was obliged to provide all documentation touching the deaths of the deceased to the coroner investigating the deaths. This ruling provided the catalyst to the senior coroner reopening the inquests into the deaths of Gervaise McKerr, Eugene Toman and Seán Burns, and to the Attorney General ordering fresh inquests in 2010 into the deaths of Danny Doherty and Francis Bradley, shot dead by the SAS in separate incidents in County Derry in the 1980s; and Gerard Casey, shot dead by loyalists in north Antrim in 1989.See more