Belfast Telegraph

Family of Belfast stabbing victim Gerard Devlin suing five men

The family of a man stabbed to death in west Belfast are suing five men convicted of offences linked to his killing, it emerged today.

A High Court civil action has been brought by relatives of Gerard Devlin, who died in front of his children and partner outside their home in February 2006.

They claim they were denied justice after a decision was taken to drop murder charges in the case.

Five members of another family subsequently pleaded guilty to lesser offences.

Francisco Notarantonio, 31, formerly of Whitecliff Parade in Belfast, was jailed for 11 years after admitting a charge of manslaughter.

Four other members of the Notarantonio family pleaded guilty to affray, receiving sentences ranging from a one-year suspended term to two years' imprisonment.

Mr Devlin, a 39-year-old father of six, was stabbed with a 13-inch knife in the city's Ballymurphy district.

His death sparked a bitter neighbourhood dispute.

Writs have been issued on behalf of his children and partner claiming damages against the five defendants.

The case was adjourned after coming before the High Court for the first time earlier this week.

Lawyers for the Devlin family stressed how they previously brought judicial review proceedings against the Public Prosecution Service over an alleged failure to consult with them before accepting the lesser pleas.

That led to a new protocol on communicating with relatives of those killed about prosecution decision-making in criminal trials.

Solicitor Kevin Winters, representing Mr Devlin's relatives, said: "Unfortunately, yet again we see a family having to resort to the civil courts to seek justice for the killing of a loved one in circumstances where they feel badly let down by the criminal justice system.

"To that end this case replicates what an awful lot of conflict-bereaved are going through."

Mr Winters added: "When one part of the legal system fails them then it's up to lawyers and others to try and address that deficit by engaging in other courts.

"The family were deprived of a full and open judicial oversight on what happened when Gerard Devlin was killed, and that's a key reason why the case is being taken." ends

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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