The European Court of Human Rights says UK breached HUman Rights of victims of terrorist attacks by RUC officers.
When Michael McGrath was leaving the Rock Bar, just after closing time at about 10.40 p.m., , on 6 June 1976, a man drove a car up , and shot him twice in the stomach twice in the stomach.
The man then placed a 10lb gelignite bomb ( no peroxide based DIY bombs in Northern ireland) against the door of the pub. The detonator exploded but the bomb failed to explode. That man was RUC Reserve Constable Laurence McClure.
This was just one of the attacks by the Glennane gang - the facts known today show that the gang members included staff of the RUC,UDR and security service agents were directly involved in murders and bombings.
State agents such as Robin Jackson, the Jackal, played ( d.1998 of cancer) a central role in this gang and their activities were known of and tolerated at a senior level within security and NIO circles. A number of the gun and bomb attacks carried out by this group were directed by agents working to Special Branch and Army Intelligence. The former British Intelligence officer, Captain Fred Holroyd, who was himself based in Portadown between 1973 and 1975 has no doubt that Robin Jackson was a "licensed killer" for the "security services." Ken Livingstone detailed his revelations in his maiden speech when first elected as an MP.
At least 120 people died as result of the activities of this wider group.
This week The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg gave judgment in favour of the families of eight men who were murdered by a Loyalist murder gang in the South Armagh area in the mid 1970’s.In each case the Court unanimously found that .. "Holds that there has been a violation of Article 2 of the Convention due to the lack of independence of the RUC during the initial stages of the investigation begun in 1999;
Article 2 states ;
"1. Everyone's right to life shall be protected by law. No one shall be deprived of his life intentionally save in the execution of a sentence of a court following his conviction of a crime for which this penalty is provided by law.
2. Deprivation of life shall not be regarded as inflicted in contravention of this article when it results from the use of force which is no more than absolutely necessary:
(a) in defence of any person from unlawful violence;
(b) in order to effect a lawful arrest or to prevent the escape of a person lawfully detained;
(c) in action lawfully taken for the purpose of quelling a riot or insurrection.".
It is worth recalling that on 30 June 1980 three RUC officers, McCaughey, McClure and Mitchell, faced charges of attempted murder of the applicant, wounding the applicant with intent contrary to section 18 of the Offences against the Persons Act 1961, attempted murder of the persons inside the bar, causing an explosion contrary to section 2 of the Explosives Substances Act 1883, possession of explosive substances with intent to endanger life or cause serious injury and possession of firearms and ammunition with intent. The three officers pleaded not guilty to the charges of attempted murder; McClure and Mitchell pleaded not guilty to wounding the applicant. The Director of Public Prosecutions ("the DPP") entered a nolle prosequi in respect of those charges which accordingly were not proceeded with. No reasons were given for this decision. The only person facing a charge concerning the applicant was McCaughey, who received a term of 7 years for wounding him. McClure was sentenced to two years' imprisonment for causing an explosion, possession of an explosive substance with intent and possession of firearms and ammunition with intent, all sentences suspended for three years.
Another RUC officer, David Wilson, was charged with withholding information contrary to section 5(1) of the Criminal Law (Northern Ireland) Act 1967, based on the fact that he had been aware of the attack beforehand and had not taken any steps to prevent it.
With the exception of McCaughey, the other officers received suspended prison terms.
In sentencing, Lord Lowry (Lord Chief Justice in Northern Ireland) stated inter alia:
"... It does not seem realistic to believe that after all that they have endured – some with their careers in ruins, others with their careers in jeopardy- that they require much by way of deterrent or by way of reform, and no proper sentence which I pass will make an impression on terrorists while other members of the police force are no doubt already embarrassed, sufficiently embarrassed and shocked by what has happened in these cases and been seen to happen to their colleagues. ... I must remember that whatever sentence is just it would follow that it would be imposed on a different and lower scale from that appropriate to terrorists, no matter whichever side, whose aim is to achieve their political ends by violence and to attack the very fabric of society."
McGrath was contacted by the Police in April 1980 and summoned to appear in Belfast Crown Court on 23 April 1980. He was subsequently advised of various date changes and then that the case was postponed and that he would be contacted. In fact the hearing took place on 30 June 1980. The applicant had not been informed and learned about the outcome on the radio.
Read more at Tom Griffin's Green Ribbon
The IRA attempted to assassinate Lord Lowry in 1982 , (he had freed Gerry Adams in 1978 - he ruled there was insufficient evidence that he was a member of the IRA) they broke into a house and it appears in firing through a plate glass window the shot was deflected and saved him - fascinating story abour it here - http://www.neilcraigan.com/brokenbonds_loosedchains/2007/11/a-story-from-be.html - he went on to give a public lecture he was planned to make. He died of natural causes in London on 15th January 1999. (Obituary)