Belfast Telegraph

Belfast cabbie shot by secret Army unit challenges PSNI's role in probe

By Alan Erwin

A taxi driver shot and wounded by an undercover British Army unit in west Belfast 45 years ago has won High Court permission to challenge the alleged failure to ensure an independent investigation.

He was granted leave to seek a judicial review of the decision to have the gun attack and wider activities of the Military Reaction Force (MRF) probed by the PSNI.

He wants outside police officers brought in to examine his shooting and other incidents involving the same soldiers.

Mr Kenny (70) was shot while innocently working as a taxi driver on the Glen Road in Belfast in June 1972.

He suffered multiple wounds which required surgery and left him with life-changing injuries.

Three other civilians were also shot by the MRF in the same incident, according to papers in the case.

The shooting is one of at least nine incidents linked to the Army unit currently under investigation by the PSNI's Legacy Investigations Branch (LIB).

But Mr Kenny's legal team claim an outside force should be appointed to ensure enquiries comply with human rights law.

Proceedings have been issued against the Chief Constable, Stormont's Department of Justice and the Northern Ireland Office.

Mr Kenny alleges the PSNI is insufficiently independent to examine the shooting and other MRF activities.

As part of the challenge it has cited the case of a woman also suspected of being shot dead by the undercover unit in the same area.

Mother-of-one Jean Smyth (24) was killed by a single shot to the head as she sat in a car on the Glen Road in June 1972.

Earlier this year a High Court judge ruled that the PSNI lacked the necessary independence to oversee further enquiries.

He ruled that Ms Smyth's family have been let down for decades by the criminal investigation system and granted them a declaration that a proposed LIB investigation would breach human rights requirements.

With Mr Kenny held to have established an arguable case, his challenge is expected to proceed to a full hearing at a later date.

Outside the court yesterday Mr Kenny welcomed the development.

"I'm very relieved the judge has taken steps to prevent any further delay into a proper investigation and now we can get this case heard, not just for my sake but for the sake of all MRF victims," he said.

"We need new independent officers from outside this jurisdiction to look at this."

His lawyer insisted outside police should be appointed - similar to the probe into the British agent Stakeknife who operated inside the IRA.

Niall O'Murchu of Madden & Finucane added: "This current MRF investigation is nearly three years old, there are no apparent results and the surviving victims and witnesses are getting older.

"There is precedent for this approach in other cases, such as the Stakeknife case, where independent officers from other countries have been enlisted to carry out a proper investigation."

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