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No evidence of state collusion in loyalist murders, court told

By Alan Erwin

Published 09/05/2015

Investigative reviews of atrocities committed by a loyalist unit behind more than 100 murders yielded no new leads or evidence of state collusion, the High Court has heard.

Counsel for the Chief Constable said the independent Historical Enquiries Team (HET) carried out an "exhaustive" probe of 26 cases without any fresh breakthroughs.

Relatives of those killed by the so-called Glenanne gang have taken legal action against the PSNI over an alleged failure to complete an overarching report on the sectarian campaign in Mid Ulster throughout the 1970s.

They are seeking a court order that police chiefs must ensure the inquiries are finished.

A draft report into alleged security force collaboration with the loyalist murderers was said to have been 80% finalised before being shelved.

Judicial review proceedings have been brought in the name Patrick Barnard (13), one of four people who died in a bomb at the Hillcrest Bar in Dungannon, Co Tyrone on St Patrick's Day 1976.

The murder gang based at a farm in Glenanne, Armagh, allegedly contained members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary and the Ulster Defence Regiment.

Up to 120 murders in nearly 90 incidents are under scrutiny.

With the HET effectively shut down, Patrick's brother, Edward Barnard, wants a judge to compel police to complete the full investigation and publish the findings.

But Tony McGleenan QC, for the Chief Constable, argued that "detailed and searching" scrutiny of the Hillcrest Bar killings and other cases was carried out.

"There was no further evidential opportunities to be examined and no evidence of collusion," he said. The case continues.

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