Solicitors question PSNI’s commitment to Bloody Sunday Investigation

madden and finucane

Solicitors representing many of those bereaved and injured on Bloody Sunday are questioning the commitment of the PSNI's Legacy Investigtation Team to the investigation into the events of the day.

In a letter to Detective Chief Inspector Ian Harrison, Madden and Finucane say there is a crisis in confidence concerning the profound delay in bringing those responsible to justice.

The letter says since a meeting at the PSNI's Maydown facility in January of this year, there has been very little movement, and they are seeking a written progress report.

In the letter, Peter Madden of Madden and Finucane Solicitors says they presume that there has been no move to interview any of those suspected of murdering or attempting to murder the victims and wounded of Bloody Sunday, as they have not been advised that any such interviews have taken place, nor have there been any media reports to that effect.

He says they are, however, aware that attempts have been made by police to trace civilian witnesses, who with the greatest of respect to them, are not likely to assist in progressing a murder investigation.

Mr Madden adds that some of the witnesses police have recently attempted to trace did not make witness statements either in 1972 or for the purposes of Lord Saville's Inquiry.

He says he bluntly stated to DCI Harrison at the January meeting that there appeared to be a general public perception that police were reluctant to arrest and question soldiers as murder suspects. He says little has happened to alleviate those concerns, and the people they represent are rapidly losing faith in the PSNI's ability to see their task through.

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The letter in full -

Detective Chief Inspector Ian Harrison
Police Service of Northern Ireland
Legacy Investigations Branch
C/o Seapark
Co Antrim

Dear DCI Harrison

BLOODY SUNDAY MURDER INVESTIGATION

We refer to the above.

As you will recall you met with myself and two other solicitors from Madden & Finucane and with Bloody Sunday relatives and campaigners Mickey McKinney and John Kelly at PSNI Maydown on 23 January 2015.

The purpose of that meeting was for you to advise us of the work that the LIB team would be undertaking in order to progress the resumed murder investigation into the events of Bloody Sunday and to see it through to a successful conclusion.

Since that meeting we have heard nothing further from the PSNI and are entirely unaware of what progress, if any, has been made.

We do not know whether the dedicated staffing levels described at the meeting on 23 January remain or if your team has been weakened or strengthened.

We presume that there has been no move to interview any of those suspected of murdering or attempting to murder the victims and wounded of Bloody Sunday as we have not been advised that any such interviews have taken place, nor have there been any media reports to that effect.

We are however aware that attempts have been made by police to trace civilian witnesses, who with the greatest of respect to them, are not likely to assist in progressing a murder investigation. Indeed some of the witnesses police have recently attempted to trace did not make witness statements either in 1972 or for the purposes of Lord Saville’s Inquiry. This fact is all the more surprising in circumstances where the number of civilian witnesses that your team had intended to interview had been revised downwards from that initially anticipated.

You may recollect that I stated bluntly to you at the above meeting that there appeared to be a general public perception that police were reluctant to arrest and question soldiers as murder suspects. Regrettably, as we fast approach the fifth anniversary of the delivery of Lord Saville’s report, it seems that little has occurred in the interim to alleviate those public concerns and those that we represent are rapidly losing faith in the PSNI’s ability to see their task through.

As you are aware, this firm brought judicial review proceedings on behalf of twenty of our clients following the suspension of the murder investigation in October 2014. The lodging of those proceedings prompted the fresh investigation and the judicial review remains adjourned before the High Court.

In the circumstances we consider it appropriate that you set out a full written progress report within the next fourteen days and that you then convene a further meeting as a matter of urgency in order to comprehensively update us as to the progress of the investigation and to address our concerns.

We await hearing from you.

Yours sincerely

Peter Madden
Madden & Finucane