‘It ruled that the SAS had used reasonable force during the operation and that the IRA men’s own actions had contributed to their deaths.
THE family of one of two IRA men shot dead by the SAS can widen their challenge to the verdict on an inquest that the killings were justified, senior judges have Ruled.
The Court of Appeal granted leave to seek a judicial review on further grounds about a failure to disclose to relatives of Martin McCaughey and Dessie Grew information about the soldiers’ involvement in other ‘lethal force’ incidents. Their verdict is being seen as a boost for attempts to have the inquest findings quashed. McCaughey (23) and Grew (37) were allegedly armed with AK47 rifles when an SAS unit opened fire on them at farm buildings near Loughgall, Co Armagh in October 1990. Neither IRA man fired any shots, provoking claims that soldiers could have arrested the men instead. But in May 2012 a jury that heard the inquests found the killings were lawful. It ruled that the SAS had used reasonable force during the operation and that the IRA men’s own actions had contributed to their deaths. Grew and McGaughey put their own lives in danger by being in the area close to a stolen car that was expected to be used in paramilitary activity, according to the verdict. Both men were said to be armed with guns, wearing gloves, balaclavas and were approaching soldiers who believed that their lives were in immediate danger.
McCaughey’s sister, Sally Gribben, sought leave to judicially review the verdicts reached by the jury on a number of grounds. Her legal team argued that the inquest failed to comply with procedural protections guaranteed under European law, and failed to constitute an independent and effective investigation into the deaths. Another key complaint centered on the failure to secure the re-attendance at the hearing of a military witness identified only as Soldier A. He was also linked to the use of lethal force in the SAS shooting of another IRA man, Francis Bradley, four years earlier. Soldier A, who led the unit that shot Grew and McCaughey, initially gave evidence at the inquest. However, he failed to return to the hearing after it was ruled he could be questioned about his involvement in the Bradley shooting and evidence appearing to show that all three IRA men had been shot while lying fatally wounded on the ground. High Court judge Mr Justice Weatherup initially decided an arguable case had been made that not enough was done to secure Soldier AM’s re-attendence, but dismissed all other grounds of the challenge. Ruling on Tuesday on an appeal against his verdict, Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan said there is an “arguable case with a reasonable prospect of success” in relation to the first three grounds raised by the appellant, concerning alleged failures of disclosure in respect of the involvement of the soldiers in previous incidents where lethal force was used and the prohibition of any cross-examination in respect of such matters. Following the verdict the McCaughey family’s lawyer Fearghal Shiels said denying potentially relevant material about other lethal force incidents to the next of kin had adversely impacted on their right to participate effectively in the inquest.
With many thanks to: The Irish News,for the original story.
You must be logged in to post a comment.