Supporters of the Loughinisland families today at Laganside court

To hear the final ruling in the judicial review taken by the Retired Police Officers NI (NIRPOA) against the Police Ombudsman (OPONI).

Late last year the court ruled in favour of NIRPOA and today the families will find out the implications in terms of their report that concluded that there was collusion with security force members in the murders of their loved ones. Today’s ruling may also affect other families awaiting reports from OPONI.
PFC is in court in solidarity with the Loughinisland families and will update as soon as we hear the ruling.

With many thanks to the: Pat Finucane Centre

Loughinisland: Judge delays ruling on report

A judge has delayed his ruling on a police ombudsman’s report into the murders of six Catholic men in 1994.

He said the ombudsman’s new legal representative needed time to read himself into the case.

The men were shot dead by loyalist paramilitaries as they watched a World Cup football match in a pub in Loughinisland, County Down.

In June 2016, the police ombudsman ruled there had been collusion between some police officers and the gunmen.

But last December, a judge ruled that conclusion was “unsustainable in law“.

The Heights Bar, Loughinisland

He said the officers accused of collusion had been “in effect tried and convicted without notice in their absence”.

Two retired officers are attempting to have the report by Michael Maguire quashed in a legal challenge.

A judge had been expected to make his final ruling on Friday, but that has now been postponed.

The victims were watching the match between Ireland and Italy when loyalist gunmen burst into the Heights Bar and opened fire on 18 June 1994.

The men who died were Adrian Rogan, 34, Malcolm Jenkinson, 53, Barney Green, 87, Daniel McCreanor 59, Patrick O’Hare, 35, and Eamon Byrne, 39.

Five others were wounded.

With many thanks to: BBCNI for the origional story.

Loughinisland judge previously represented police officer in ombudsman challenge

High Court judge Mr Justice Bernard McCloskey, who had a conflict of interest in the Loughinisland case

Mr Justice McCloskey is expected to deliver his final ruling in the Loughinisland challenge on Friday at the Royal Courts of Justice

High Court Loughinisland massacre Mr Justice McCloskey
A landmark judgment in a case taken against the Police Ombudsman by retired officers is expected to be appealed as it emerged the judge previously represented one of the officers in a similar case.

Mr Justice Bernard McCloskey held last month that the ombudsman went beyond his statutory powers in reaching conclusions on the Loughinisland atrocity which are unsustainable in law.

In June last year Dr Michael Maguire said there had been collusion between some officers and the UVF gunmen who opened fire in a Co Down pub in June 1994.

The victims of the Loughinisland massacre

Adrian Rogan (34), Malcolm Jenkinson (53), Barney Green (87), Daniel McCreanor (59), Patrick O’Hare (35), and 39-year-old Eamon Byrne were killed.

Retired policemen Raymond White and Thomas Hawthorne challenged the ombudsman’s report and Mr Justice McCloskey ruled that none of the officers subjected to “destructive and withering condemnations” of collusion had the protection of due process.

Mr White is a former RUC assistant chief constable and senior Special Branch officer.

Tomorrow Mr Justice McCloskey is expected to say whether the report should be quashed.

The case sparked calls for the resignation of Ombudsman Dr Michael Maguire and has ramifications for future investigations in legacy cases.

DUP MP Ian Paisley also called for an inquiry into all previous reports alleging collusion.

The ombudsman has indicated that it intends to appeal the Loughinisland ruling.

The Irish News understands that among potential grounds are questions over whether the judge should have recused himself from the High Court case, having formerly represented one of the officers in a challenge against the ombudsman’s office.

In 2001 former ombudsman Nuala O’Loan ruled there had been failings by the RUC during the investigation into the Omagh bombing.

Her report was unsuccessfully challenged by former chief constable Ronnie Flanagan and Raymond White, with Bernard McCloskey QC representing the policemen.

He was appointed a High Court judge in 2008.

Guidelines issued to judges by the Lord Chief Justice state: “Past professional association with a party as a client need not in itself be a reason for disqualification, but the judge must assess whether the particular circumstances, and in particular any prior knowledge relevant to the case, could create an appearance of bias.”

A declaration in such circumstances is at the discretion of the judge.

When asked if Mr Justice McCloskey had declared previously representing Mr White as a possible perceived conflict of interest, a spokesperson for Sir Declan Morgan’s office said: “The Statement of Ethics for the Judiciary in Northern Ireland provides guidance to judges on when it may be appropriate for them to recuse themselves.

“This will generally be when there is an actual, potential or perceived conflict of interest or where there is the potential for an appearance of bias to be created.

“Judges who are aware of any such conflict or who are asked to recuse themselves will make an assessment based on the circumstances of the individual case.

“There was no such awareness or request in the present case.”

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

Retired officers’ bid to quash Loughinisland report to be heard by end of year.

The six men murdered in the Loughinisland massacre when loyalist gunmen opened fire at the Heights Bar were, from top left, Adrian Rogan, Barney Green and Dan McCreanor and, from bottom left, Eamon Byrne, Malcolm Jenkins on and Patsy O’Hare.

Loughinisland A legal challenge by two retired police officers to a damning Police Ombudsman’s report on the Loughinisland massacre will be heard by the end of the year.

A High Court judge yesterday insisted Raymond White and Thomas Hawthorne’s bid to judicially review the report into the 1994 atrocity will proceed in December “come what may”.
Mr Justice McCloskey also pledged to clear a backlog of litigation surrounding so-called legacy cases from the Troubles.
He said: “They have become too long in the tooth by some measure, and the court will proactively ensure that all of those proceedings are processed with expedition and efficiency.”
Mr White and Mr Hawthorne’s case involves claims there was no legal power to publish the ombudsman findings, which should instead be quashed.

UVF gunmen opened fire at the Heights Bar in Loughinisland, Co Down as their victims were watching a World Cup match.
The six men who died were Adrian Rogan (34), Malcolm Jenkinson (53), Barney Green (87), Daniel McCreanor (59), Patrick O’Hare (35) and Eamon Byrne (39).
In June last year the Police Ombudsman, Dr Michael Maguire, said collusion was a significant feature in the murders and identified “catastrophic failings” in the investigation.
But Mr White, a former senior Special Branch officer and a representative of the Northern Ireland Retired Police Officers’ Association, and Mr Hawthorne, a retired chief superintendent and former sub-divisional commander in the area, are challenging the legality of the document.
They contend that the ombudsman had no right to reach his determination.

The Loughinisland report should only have been released if it recommended prosecutions or disciplinary action, according to their case.

Ian Knox cartoon 7/11/17: The ‘No Stone Unturned’ documentary goes on general release this Friday
In court yesterday lawyers were offered a choice of dates next month for the hearing, with Mr Justice McCloskey stressing he will list it himself if they cannot reach agreement.
Solicitor Niall Murphy, representing the Loughinisland families, last night welcomed the court’s “clear expression that it will proceed with expedition and move to hear this case urgently”.
It is due to be heard in the wake of a major documentary which refers to the findings of the ombudsman’s report and makes fresh allegations around the actions of state agencies around the attack.
The film Loughinisland: No Stone Unturned also names several people suspected of involvement in the mass shooting.
Earlier this week Sinn Féin MLA Emma Rogan, whose father Adrian was killed in the attack, strongly criticised the PSNI response to the documentary.

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

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