Father of loyalist paramilitary murder victim to take legal action

Raymond McCord to challenge failure to charge ex-police officers implicated in killing

Victims campaigner Raymond McCord displays an Irish passport together with his British passport. File photograph: Gerry Moriarty

Victims campaigner Raymond McCord displays an Irish passport together with his British passport. File photograph: Gerry Moriarty

 

The father of a loyalist paramilitary murder victim will take legal action over the decision not to bring charges against former police officers implicated in the killing.

Raymond McCord’s lawyers are pressing ahead with a High Court challenge after rejecting a Public Prosecution Service (PPS) offer to have a senior barrister carry out a further evaluation. A judge today listed his case for a hearing in November.

Mr McCord’s 22-year-old son, Raymond McCord jnr, was beaten to death in November 1997. The killing was at the centre of a report by former police ombusdman Nuala O’Loan which found collusion between a north Belfast UVF gang and their Special Branch handlers.

Earlier this year Gary Haggarty, a former commander of the terror unit-turned supergrass, was jailed after confessing to hundreds of paramilitary offences. His crimes included five murders – but not that of McCord jnr. He received a reduced sentence in return for providing evidence on other terror suspects. Consequently, his prison term was slashed from 35 years to 6½. Despite Haggarty implicating 16 people in serious crime, only one man faces prosecution for murder using his evidence. Former DPP Barra McGrory announced last year that his claims alone were insufficient to prove allegations made against the other suspects.

Son's murder

Mr McCord then issued judicial review proceedings against the PPS for failing to review the decision not to bring charges against former police officers implicated in the alleged failure to prevent his son’s murder.

His lawyers claimed the position was unlawful, unfair and “deprecated” the weight which could be given to Haggarty’s evidence and his general credibility. In April the PPS confirmed a review of the decision not to prosecute the former police officers. But Mr McCord’s legal team have rejected the move, claiming the same senior counsel who advised on decisions not to prosecute in another Haggarty-related case would be involved in the review.