Tuesday, 19 December 2017

POLICE CHIEF SHOULD BE ARRESTED: REAVEY. thumbnail The Chief Constable, George Hamilton

EUGENE Reavey says that the Chief Constable of the PSNI should be arrested for failing to abide by a High Court order.

Mr Reavey, whose three brothers were murdered by the Glennane Gang at their Whitecross home in 1976, has long been campaigning, alongside other families of victims of the murderous loyalist gang, for an independent inquiry into the gang's activities.

Just last month, Mr Justice Treacy ordered the Chief Constable, George Hamilton to complete the investigation into the gang, which is believed to have murdered up to 120 people.

Before its disbandment, the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) had completed 80 percent of its report into the activities of the Glenanne Gang.

The PSNI has not completed or published that report, and earlier this year, the High Court ruled that the PSNI had breached the human rights of the victim's families and had frustrated "any possibility of an effective investigation."

Last week, the families took the step of publishing an open letter in The Irish News, which called on Mr Hamilton to do "the right thing" and abide by the 'Order of Mandamus' handed down by Mr Justice Treacy.

When handing down the order, Mr Justice Treacy said: "The very sad and inescapable fact is that while these debates rage at huge public expense the victims' families languish with no end in sight and the ever increasing realisation that nothing much may happen in their lifetime."

The judge gave the PSNI a week to confirm that there were no minutes or documents about the decision not to complete the HET investigation.

Responding to the letter from the families, Mr Hamilton, in a letter published in the Irish News last Friday, and addressed to political representatives in the north with responsibility for policing, said that the PSNI had been placed in "an impossible position", and said that the force was not sufficiently independent to carry out an investigation.

Furthermore, he said that to appoint another police service to oversee the investigation would cost over 60 million, and that he intended to appeal the order handed down by the court.

But, speaking to the Newry Democrat, Mr Reavey did not mince his words about what he called "a feet dragging exercise" by the PSNI, and said that the letter which George Hamilton said he had sent to each of the families privately has not yet been received by any of them, to the best of his knowledge.

"What Judge Treacy ordered him to do - he has not addressed that in his letter," said Mr Reavey.

"He has addressed a wide scope of things in his letter. Judge Treacy was very, very clear. He gave him one week to agree a way forward with this over-arching report, that was 80 percent finished.

"We are not asking him [Mr Hamilton] to be independent. What we have asked him is to meet with our barristers and solicitors to see if they could agree a name of a person [to oversee the investigation].

"After the week had elapsed, there was no correspondence from the police - they failed to engage with our legal people.

"It's a foot dragging exercise that Hamilton has to face up to.

"George Hamilton should realise that he is not dealing with some corner boys, he's dealing with the top legal brains in Northern Ireland, and Danny Friedmann, who is in from Michael Mansfield's Chambers in London - they are the top guys. There is nobody better.

"The Chief Constable is in breach of a court order and the judge should issue a warrant for his arrest.

"He's in contempt of court in a lot of cases, it's not only our case that he's in contempt of court.

"And further he should resign if he can't meet the requirements of Judge Treacy. Now that's where he's heading for.

"I have received no letter, and I didn't get one on Saturday morning either. The Chief Constable said that he posted them two days earlier, but that wasn't the case - they were all posted at the one time.

"And as of 11am on Monday morning, I still have no letter. Nobody has got one - not that I know of."

A police spokesperson said:

"A letter from the Chief Constable for the attention of all families was sent to the solicitor representing the families on Thursday 14th December. We regret that the families have not yet had sight of this letter and we have asked their solicitors to ensure it is passed on. "

The PSNI say they do not have the contact details of the families involved. PSNI confirmed that the letter had been received by the solicitors office on the afternoon of Thursday, December 14.


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