Belfast Telegraph

Belfast law firms welcome apologies over newspaper claims

The Mail on Sunday has publicly apologised.
The Mail on Sunday has publicly apologised.

By Alan Erwin

Two high-profile Belfast law firms have received apologies over untrue newspaper claims they secretly made millions of pounds as part of a "witch hunt" probe into killings by British soldiers.

KRW Law and Madden & Finucane issued libel proceedings after the Mail on Sunday published the allegations about legal aid payments in cases dealing with the conflict in Northern Ireland.

As part of a settlement reached in the case an apology appeared in the paper's online edition.

It stated: "An article on 17th March 2019 alleged that two law firms, KRW Law and Madden & Finucane, were behind a probe and 'witch hunt' into killings by British Troops during the Irish troubles and were secretly receiving millions of pounds in legal aid.

"We acknowledge that these allegations were wrong and we had not intended to impugn the professional integrity or impartiality of either firm who act for clients on all sides of the political and religious divide.

"We apologise for any unintended suggestion to the contrary."

Both firms declared themselves fully vindicated by the retraction.

Kevin Winters, senior partner in KRW Law, reiterated his determination to protect its reputation, and stressed it will continue to represent individuals, "regardless of their political or religious beliefs, without fear or favour".

Mr Winters added: "We are very satisfied with the outcome of the settlement.

"Acting in conflict-related cases is a difficult enough task, without the difficulty being compounded by this type of commentary.

"It's unhelpful, although the apology helps ensure that such commentary is unlikely to be repeated again in the future."

Madden & Finucane said in a statement: "This was the latest in a series of irresponsible newspaper articles, published three days after the decision to prosecute a soldier over the events of Bloody Sunday, with inappropriate comment on live criminal proceedings.

"The allegations made in the article have no factual basis and represent a failed attempt to intimidate lawyers from representing their clients who come from all sections of the community."

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