Court ruling halts killings probes
Published 24/11/2011 | 21:12
Almost 50 police killings in Northern Ireland will not be investigated because of a legal ruling.
Controversial shoot-to-kill allegations are among those covered by the direction from the UK's highest court.
Police Ombudsman Al Hutchinson's office said it was up to Justice Minister David Ford to decide whether he wanted to legislate.
A test case at the Supreme Court earlier this year means the Ombudsman cannot re-investigate 49 deaths from the 30-year conflict which have previously been considered by police unless there is new evidence.
An Ombudsman spokesman said: "Now that there appears to be legal clarity on this issue, we will move to ask Government to consider if it wants to change this legislation."
The cases where Royal Ulster Constabulary officers were responsible for deaths were sent to the Ombudsman four years ago but no new investigations have happened because of earlier legal limbo.
The deaths were referred to the Ombudsman by the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) of detectives due to separate European law which means state investigations into state killings must be fully independent.
As the HET is accountable to the Chief Constable, it cannot investigate killings by police officers.
The deaths include some which led to allegations that the RUC was operating a shoot-to-kill policy.
IRA members Sean Burns, Gervaise McKerr and Eugene Toman were shot dead by RUC members near Lurgan, Co Armagh, in November 1982. The following month, suspected members of republican splinter group the Irish National Liberation Army Peter Grew and Roddy Carroll were shot dead near Armagh after being followed across the Irish border by police.