Ex-British soldier begins legal challenge against child murder charge

Daniel Hegarty, 15-years-old, was shot dead by a British soldier during Operation Motorman in 1972

 

A former soldier has begun a legal challenge against a decision to prosecute him for the murder of a teenage boy in Londonderry more than 47 years ago.

Daniel Hegarty, 15, was killed in an Army operation in Creggan in July 1972.

In April 2019, the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) announced the veteran, who cannot be identified, is to be charged with the teenager’s murder.

He also faces a charge of wounding the teenager’s cousin, Christopher Hegarty.

Lawyers for the Army veteran, known as Soldier B, are seeking to judicially review those decisions at the High Court in Belfast.

In 1972 there were a number of “no go areas” for the British army in Co Derry

Counsel for the ex-serviceman claimed that prosecutors failed to properly consider his health in reaching the decision to charge him over Daniel Hegarty’s killing.

The lawyer argued the decision to prosecute breaches his human rights.

Soldier B’s identity or whereabouts cannot be revealed due to reporting restrictions.

‘No-go areas’
The prohibition also prevents precise details of the legal arguments made on his behalf being disclosed.

In 2011, an inquest jury found Daniel Hegarty posed no risk and was shot without warning as the Army moved in to clear “no-go” areas during Operation Motorman.

A decision was taken not to prosecute Soldier B in 2016.

The High Court quashed that determination after legal action by the Hegarty family in May 2018.

The current director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland, Stephen Herron, carried out a review of the case before announcing charges are to be brought.

His decision is now being challenged by Soldier B on a number of grounds, including irrationality and an alleged failure to take proper account of the evidence.

The hearing continues.

With many thanks to: BBC NewsNI and Michael Fitzpatrick for the original story 

Follow these links to find out more: https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/view/50777834/operation-motorman-danny-hegarty-cain

(2)-: https://seachranaidhe1.blog/tag/daniel-hegarty-who-was-murdered-by-soldier-b/

(3)-: https://youtu.be/4LxGKle9oIA

Bloody Sunday: Court rejects MoD’s appeal against compensation

The Bloody Sunday murders happened during a civil rights marches on the streets of Co Derry Image copyrightPA MEDIA

 

A Ministry of Defence (MoD) appeal against a decision to award the family of a man killed on Bloody Sunday an extra payment of £15,000 has been dismissed by the Court of Appeal.

Senior judges rejected claims that Bernard McGuigan’s relatives were not entitled to the aggravated damages for injury to his feelings.

The MoD argued against the payment because he died instantly.

Mr McGuigan was shot as he went to the aid of another man.

Thirteen people were killed and 15 wounded when members of the Army’s Parachute Regiment opened fire on civil rights demonstrators in Derry on Sunday 30 January 1972.

On Thursday, judges backed a finding that Mr McGuigan, a father-of-six, would have experienced fear and dread when members of the Parachute Regiment opened fire.

Bloody Sunday victims, top row (left to right): Patrick Doherty, Gerald Donaghey, John Duddy, Hugh Gilmour, Michael Kelly, Michael McDaid and Kevin McElhinney. Bottom row: Bernard McGuigan, Gérard McKinney, William McKinney, William Nash, James Wray and John Young

Lord Justice McCloskey said: “All of this conduct… was capable of generating in every person of normal mental fortitude in the area a reasonable apprehension of being shot or wounded.”

In 2010 the Saville Inquiry into the shootings established the innocence of all of the victims.

Those findings led to the then Prime Minister David Cameron issuing a public apology for the soldiers’ actions.

He described the killings as “unjustified and unjustifiable”.

Liability has been accepted by the MoD in legal actions taken against it by those bereaved or injured.

Court proceedings have centred on the level of damages in each case, with more than £3m in total paid out to date.

Thirteen people were murdered and 15 were wounded on Bloody Sunday

Mr McGuigan, known as Barney, was a painter and decorator.

He was shot at the Rossville Flats area as he went to the aid of 31-year-old Patrick Doherty, who was also shot dead on the day.

The 41-year-old had been waving a handkerchief or towel when he was hit by a bullet to the head, killing him instantly.

A claim by his estate was settled for £258,000.

A High Court judge then awarded a further £15,000 in aggravated damages.

He found that the soldier’s actions would have “filled the deceased with fear and dread, coupled with a strong sense of indignation and hurt at being the innocent victim of a blatant, unprovoked and unjust attack by members of the Army.”

Guildhall Square in Co Derry was packed for David Cameron’s apology on behalf of the British State in 2010 Image copyrightPACEMAKER

The MoD went to the Court of Appeal to challenge the additional award, claiming it was wrong in law because Mr McGuigan’s death was instantaneous.

But counsel for his family insisted the payout was justified by the terror he experienced during the shootings.

Mr McGuigan had been sheltering behind a wall when he went out to try to offer help, clearly aware he was put himself in danger, the court heard.

“That’s why he was waving the piece of towel as he went out,” the family’s barrister submitted.

Ruling on the appeal, Lord Justice McCloskey described the MoD’s case as unsustainable and affirmed the £15,000 compensation for aggravated damages.

He also made an award of costs of the hearing against the MoD.

With many thanks to: BBC NewsNI for the original story 

Follow these links to find out more: https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/ex-soldier-doug-beattie-says-mod-bid-to-withhold-money-from-family-of-bloody-sunday-victim-wrong-38935472.html

(2)-: http://www.irishnews.com/paywall/tsb/irishnews/irishnews/irishnews//news/northernirelandnews/2020/02/07/news/mod-loses-appeal-against-extra-compensation-awarded-to-bloody-sunday-victim-1835833/content.html

(3)-: https://www.derryjournal.com/news/people/mod-lose-appeal-against-sunday-compensation-1-9226364

Now the British police are investigating the British police for British Collusion in the occupied six Counties of the North of Ireland. Does that make any sense?

Glennane gang: Jon Boutcher to head collusion investigation

Jon Boutcher will lead the investigation

Former Bedfordshire Police chief Jon Boutcher will head an inquiry into the activities of the Glenanne Gang.

In July, the Court of Appeal said a full, independent investigation must be held.

The loyalist paramilitary gang has been linked to up to 120 murders and included some serving members of the police and security services.

Mr Boucher is separately investigating the activities of an Army agent within the IRA, known as Stakeknife.

Glenanne gang victims win legal challenge

PSNI ‘must complete Glenanne Gang probe’
‘Establish the truth’

Mr Boutcher said the review would have the “interests of the victims, and their loved ones at its very heart”.

He said: “I will do everything I can to establish the truth about who was responsible for these terrible crimes.

“For the families that especially means finding out about what, if any, assistance was given to the Glenanne Gang by others in any manner whatsoever, and that will include whether people turned a blind eye to what was happening.”

The farm in Glenanne was alleged to be the base for the gang

An investigation into alleged security force collaboration with the gang was started by the now defunct Historical Enquiries Team (HET).

However, the HET was later abolished and the report, thought to be 80% complete, was shelved.

Families argued they were promised an investigation.

Initial legal proceedings against the PSNI were taken by Edward Barnard, whose 13-year-old brother Patrick was killed in the Hillcrest Bar bombing.

The boy was one of four people to die in the no-warning explosion on St Patrick’s Day, 1976.

Five years later, Dungannon Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) member Garnet James Busby received a life sentence after admitting his role in the bombing and other terrorist offences.

July’s Court of Appeal ruling upheld a previous court’s decision that had been challenged by the former PSNI Chief Constable, Sir George Hamilton.

Relatives of those allegedly murdered and injured by the so-called Glenanne Gang have campaigned for the investigation

Assistant Chief Constable George Clarke said the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s thoughts “first and foremost are with all of the families affected by these incidents”.

He added: “Following the Court of Appeal judgment on 5 July the chief constable undertook to commence work to appoint the Independent Police Team and he has now asked for the assistance of Jon Boutcher to head this team to conduct the analytical report on collusion as ordered by the court.”

The Glenanne Gang is believed to have been responsible for the murders of 33 people in the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings.

It has also been linked to a number of other atrocities, including the 1975 Miami Showband Massacre in which three members of the popular group were shot dead.

With many thanks to: BBC NewsNI for the original story 

 

Tory plan to water down Human Rights Act to protect ex-soldiers would turn UK into pariah, experts warn

Move could end in Britain leaving the European Convention on Human Rights altogether, prime minister told

Conservative plans to water down the Human Rights Act – to prevent prosecutions of soldiers accused of murders in Northern Ireland – will make the UK a pariah, the party has been warned.

The move could also lead to Britain leaving the European Convention on Human Rights altogether, at huge cost to the country’s reputation, legal experts said.

The backlash came after Boris Johnson pledged to end what the Tories call “unfair trials”, by banning inquests from returning verdicts of unlawful killings for deaths during the Troubles.

It would involve amending the HRA – the key legal route for families seeking to prove British state involvement in killings – to exclude any death in Northern Ireland before it came into force in October 2000.

But Dominic Grieve, the former attorney general, now running as an independent, attacked a confusing announcement that he suggested was simply “electioneering”.

“I am very sensitive to soldiers not being harassed about events that happened a long time ago, but the rule of law has to be upheld as well,” he told The Independent.

Amnesty International said: “All victims have the right to an independent investigation – that is a cornerstone of the rule of law throughout the world. “

And Mark Stephens, a solicitor specialising in human rights, said: “This sounds like clickbait for Tory voters.

“The UK has been a signatory of the European Convention on Human Rights since 1958 and if we want to remain part of that convention any amendment of domestic legislation will have to be compliant with it.”

The Tory pledge follows a long campaign by veterans’ groups which have protested that the law is being abused to hound retired soldiers years after the events in question took place.

But, under Article 2 of the ECHR, nations are obliged to carry out an effective official investigation into deaths where lethal force had been used against individuals by agents of the state.

Investigations using the inquest system have been used by families to try to prove that their loved ones were killed unlawfully.

Mr Grieve added: “If we seek to stop inquests, we may fall foul of Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights. And if we seek to interfere with prosecutions, well, I’m staggered that any government would consider it.”

He warned it could lead to leaving the ECHR altogether, adding: “That would be a very bad destination indeed, because we are one of the leading countries seeking to apply it to improve standards, not just in Europe, but around the world.”

Grainne Teggart, Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland campaign manager, added: “It is essential that no-one, including members of the Armed Forces, is above the law.

“Yet in preventing former soldiers from being prosecuted over killings and other abuses that took place during the Northern Ireland conflict, that is exactly where this would place them.”

Simon Coveney, the Irish foreign affairs minister, also criticised the plan, tweeting: “There is no statute of limitations, no amnesty for anyone who committed crimes in Northern Ireland.

“The law must apply to all, without exception, to achieve reconciliation.”

With many thanks to: The Independent and Rob Merrick Deputy Political Editor for the original story@Rob_merrick

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Latest: No-deal Brexit could lead to increased terrorism in the North of Ireland, police say

The police are worried about an uptake in terrorism in the event of a no-deal Brexit

No-deal Brexit could lead to increased terrorism in Northern Ireland, police say
‘It is really important for us to emphasize that we are currently operating within severe threat,’ says assistant chief constable.

A no-deal Brexit could open up opportunities for terrorist crimes and activities in Northern Ireland, a senior police official warned.

Appearing in front of the House of Commons’ exiting the European Union committee today, Assistant Chief Constable of Police Service Northern Ireland Greg Clarke said the agency would “go back into suboptimal” operations if the U.K. loses access to the European Arrest Warrant and is unable to share criminal data with the EU in a crashout exit scenario.

Such an outcome also offers dissident republican groups a “rallying cry,” he added.

“There is a potential for opportunities to exist for them to carry terrorist crimes and activities, depending on what [border checks] infrastructure, for example, would look like,” Clarke told MPs.

“It is really important for us to emphasise that we are currently operating within severe threat.”

PSNI has restricted its leave to 10 percent of staff in the run-up to the Brexit deadline of October 31, Clarke said. The service has also recently increased its number of officers by slightly over 300, of which about 200 have been assigned to the five border districts with the Republic of Ireland, he added.

A member of the IRA on patrol along the border between the North and South of Ireland

Asked whether differences in trade tariffs between the U.K. and the EU would leave to an increase in smuggling across an Irish border, Clarke said that would depend on the size of the difference.

With many thanks to: Politico Europe and Cristina Gallardo London for the original story 

#OTD in 1984 – Brighton Hotel Bombing: The PIRA attempted to assassinate British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, and her cabinet. – Stair na hÉireann/History of Ireland

https://stairnaheireann.net/2019/10/12/otd-in-1984-brighton-hotel-bombing-the-pira-attempted-to-assassinate-british-prime-minister-margaret-thatcher-and-her-cabinet-3/

Skilled journalists shine Spotlight on the darkest secrets of our sad past

THERE’S an old proverb about the road to hell being paved with good intentions. 

And friends of mine have occasionally tried to explain away unionism’s vice-like grip on the first 50 years of the North of Ireland by quoting it. They claim the unionist government which oversaw the North of Ireland always planned to do better, but never quite got there. There’s no doubt that in 1921 after the partition of Ireland was complete, unionist leaders had a chance to create a northern state where few Catholics would have opted to join the newly-formed 26 County Free State.

Rev Ian Paisley Leader of the DUP and Firebrand preacher

But religious bigotry at the heart of at the heart of the Stormont regime meant that opportunity was passed over. And instead unionism firmly pulled the shutters down tight. It viewed every Catholic citizen with suspicion. Unionist Party leaders ignored the parting advice of Sir Edward Carson – the public face of unionism – to be kind to the minority. And although not publicly acknowledged, some unionist establishment figures even gave the green light to loyalist gunmen to wage a war of attrition against Catholics. Pogroms were terrifying and real, with hundreds losing their lives as the contrived state of the North of Ireland became a political reality. A semi-secret plan was hatched where police officers like the infamous DI Nixon were allowed to run their own murder gangs. Their intention was to grind Catholics into submission and force them to accept that they now lived in a place where only those loyal to Britain ruled the roost. Rejecting unionist offers of top police jobs abroad. Nixon eventually quit the RUC to become an Independent Unionist MP.

EXPOSE

And until the day he died, he repeatedly threatened to expose fellow unionist politicians’ involvement in violence at the foundation of the state. Eventually many Catholics accepted their diminished status and kept their heads down. Occasional IRA attacks in the north and in England posed no threat to the northern state. But the 1947 Education Act – forced on unionist by the British government  – created an articulate Catholic middle class no longer willing to accept the status quo.

Martin McGuinness Deputy First Minister for the North of Ireland and OC Officer Commanding the IRA Derry Brigade

In 1967, along with other interested groups – including the remnants of the Irish Republican Movement – these people formed the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association. The organisation had the stated aim of replacing unionist discrimination in jobs, housing and voting rights with British liberal values. It was well received in Ireland and also in the rest of the UK, where people were shocked to learn that the North of Ireland citizens hadn’t the same rights as them. The North of Ireland Prime Minister Captain Terence O’Neill (who the unionist claimed was a Lundy) – steeped in the unionist landed gentry – knew in his heart that if the union was to survive, then things needed to change. But a rabble-rousing fundamentalist preacher called Ian Paisley – who led his own Free Presbyterian Church – had other ideas. He had an ability to tap into ancient Protestant fears and suspicions. And he helped form a series of new loyalist paramilitary organisations opposed to any reforms proposed by O’Neill. Paisley was following in the footsteps of his close friend and hero DI Nixon, a police officer turned politician who had terrorised Catholics at the foundation of the state. Much of Paisley’s involvement with the reconstituted Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) was denied because the authorities feared the clergyman’s Svengali-like powers. But this week – in the first of a new seven part series of TV programmes to mark the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Troubles – Paisley’s real role in the violence is exposed.

Martin McGuinness above and the Rev Ian Paisley

Spotlight on the Troubles: A Secret History goes out simultaneously on BBC Northern and BBC4 on Tuesday night. Using first-hand testimony of individuals who were around at the time, reporter Darragh McIntyre reveals how Ian Paisley personally financed the UVF bombing of a water pipe line at the Silent Valley Reservoir near Kilkeel in April 1969. Paisley and his cohorts attempted to give the impression that the explosion, coming as it did months before serious violence erupted on the streets of Derry and Belfast, was the work of the practically moribund IRA. But a retired senior British Army officer, drafted in to examine the aftermath of the bomb, told MacIntyre his suspensions were raised as soon as he saw the bomb site. “This just didn’t have the look of an IRA bomb,” he said. And he went on to claim that a senior RUC officer in Killkeel showed him intelligence reports which revealed the entire operation had been financed by Paisley.

A mural which appeared in Moygashel of the late Martin McGuinness

As Paisley’s UVF mates were bombing the place, a young butcher’s apprentice by the name of Martin McGuinness was about to quit his job to assume the role of 2nd in Command of the Provisional IRA in Derry.

Fottage of former Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness overseeing a car bomb being loaded in Co Derry

In newly emerged footage, McGuinness is filmed overseeing an IRA bomb being loaded into the boot of a car. McGuinness sits in the passenger seat and, minutes later, it is transported to Derry city centre and detonated. And in another remarkable clip, McGuinness instructs children on how to load bullets into a revolver.

Martin McGuinness showing teenagers how to load a revolver in Derry city

It is almost beyond belief that 3,500 deaths later, these two men were sworn into office as the First Minister and Deputy First Minister in a new devolved administration at Stormont. But they also became close personal friends.

ASTONISHING 

In an astonishing revelation near the end of the first programme, MacIntyre reveals written details of a top secret report by Sir Michael Carver, the most senior officer in the British Army. In the report, Carver advises the British government to consider an alternative strategy which doesn’t demand maintaining the North of Ireland border by military means, (what Brexit will mean).I.e. British withdrawal.

A burial headstone commenting a member of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)

Spotlight editor Jeremy Adams say he’s proud his talented team of investigative reporters consisting of McIntyre, Jennifer O’Leary and Mandy McAuley, have been able to uncover new findings relating to the history of the Troubles. “This past has shaped our present and it’s vitally important that truths continue to be told,” he said. I’m in no doubt that this body of work from the awarding-winning BBC Spotlight team will become the definitive television history of the Troubles. This series of programmes – which uncovers much previously unknown material  – is informative, revealing, shocking and at times very, very moving. It was an enormous undertaking for the reporters and filmmakers involved, but once again, BBC Spotlight comes through with flying colours. Don’t miss it.

 

With many thanks to the: Sunday World and Hugh Jordan for the original story 

 

Follow these links to find out more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-11313364

(2)-: https://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/latest-news/rev-ivan-foster-ian-paisley-is-unable-to-reply-to-these-slanderous-allegations-against-him-1-9063523

(3)-: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-49348633