PSNI “Lacks Independence to Investigate Two Incidents of Troubles”, Supreme Court Says
The Northern Ireland Police Service (PSNI) does not have “the requisite independence” to investigate two events that took place half a century ago due to a risk of “bias”, said assert a lawyer at a hearing before the Supreme Court.
Seven London-based Supreme Court justices are hearing arguments over proposed police investigations into the murder of a Catholic woman in 1972 and the treatment of 12 people, who have come to be known as “hooded men,” detained in 1971, at a remote hearing scheduled to end tomorrow.
Lord Hodge, Lord Lloyd-Jones, Lord Kitchin, Lord Sales, Lord Hamblen, Lord Leggatt and Lord Burrows have been asked to consider issues relating to the shooting of 24-year-old Jean Smyth in Belfast and the detention of the ‘hooded men ”, Following rulings by judges in Northern Ireland.
Lawyer Tony McGleenan QC, who represents the Northern Ireland Police Service, told judges today the force is not lacking in independence to investigate.
But a lawyer representing Ms Smyth’s sister Margaret McQuillan and Francis McGuigan – one of the “hooded men” – disagreed.
Hugh Southey QC told judges a case involved the shooting death of an “unarmed young mother” in circumstances “involving members of the British military”.
He said the other concerned “acts of torture and / or inhuman and degrading treatment sanctioned by the state”.
Mr Southey said the Northern Ireland Police Service “does not have the requisite independence” under articles of the European Convention on Human Rights to investigate the murder of Ms Smyth and the torture of “hooded men”.
“This is because an independent and impartial observer would find that there is a real risk of bias in any investigation undertaken by the Police Service of Northern Ireland into these matters,” he said in a pitch written.
‘Such an assessment would necessarily be informed, inter alia, by judicial and other independent findings of serious failures in the Northern Ireland Police Service’s investigative processes in legacy cases involving allegations of involvement or collusion of the state. “
Mr Southey said that two problems arise in both cases – the “applicability of the duty to investigate” imposed by articles of the European Convention on Human Rights and the independence of the police service. North Ireland.
He says Ms. Smyth’s sister and Mr. McGuigan are entitled to “an effective and independent investigation.”
Amnesty International, which has supported a “hooded men” campaign, also wants independent investigations.
Lawyers representing the Northern Ireland Police Service have asked the Supreme Court to review the case, following hearings in Northern Ireland.
The judges are also hearing arguments from lawyers representing Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis.
A spokesperson for the Supreme Court said in a written explanatory note that the justices were examining whether the investigative arm inherited from the Northern Ireland Police Service was “sufficiently independent” to investigate the death of Ms Smyth or her death. ‘other “these deaths”.
The spokeswoman said an investigation was planned by the police department’s inheritance investigations branch but, before it began, Ms Smyth’s sister had taken legal action and raised questions relating to independence.
She said the judges would also consider whether the Northern Ireland Police Service was “sufficiently independent” to conduct “any necessary investigation” into the treatment of the “hooded men”.