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Ex RUC officers secure date for legal challenges over Police Ombudsman reports

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Former RUC officers have secured a date for legal challenges to reports by Northern Ireland’s Police Ombudsman.

A judge listed their judicial review applications for hearing at the High Court in October.

One of the cases relates to findings reached in the watchdog’s probe into a series of loyalist paramilitary murders in the south Belfast area between 1990 and 1998.

Earlier this year the Ombudsman, Marie Anderson, found evidence of “collusive behaviour” by police in the attacks, which included the February 1992 massacre at the Sean Graham betting shop on the Ormeau Road where UDA gunmen shot dead five Catholic victims.

Legal action is also being taken over the report into the police handling of loyalist killings in the north west region from 1989 to 1993.

A third challenge relates to findings in the case of four men wrongly accused of murdering a British soldier in Derry.

Known as the Derry Four, in June this year the Ombudsman concluded that RUC officers had unfairly obtained confessions from them for the killing of Lt Stephen Kirby in the city in 1979.

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The four men later fled Northern Ireland until their acquittal in 1998.

Backed by federation representatives, former RUC officers claim the Ombudsman has made findings without any proper due process.

They are seeking to have relevant parts of public statements declared unlawful.

Senior counsel representing the officers, David McMillen QC, told the court: “We consider they should be heard together because they deal with the same issues.”

With the Ombudsman intent on robustly defending the challenges, Mr Justice Colton set aside three days to deal with full arguments in the cases.


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