Solicitor Pat Fahy and Paper Trail respond to the police’s false reporting of Michael Leonard’s murder.

It is with great dismay that the family of Michael Leonard read that the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) is now claiming that their classification of the killing of Michael Leonard as murder, as reported in the Irish News, was inaccurate.

How this could have happened is difficult to understand, given that the PSNI is understood to have made that assertion to the Irish News not once, but twice before PSNI flip-flopped.

Solicitor for the family, Pat Fahy, has also raised a key legal point relating to the PSNI statement.

Pat Fahy said:

“It is incorrect for police to say that this matter will form part of the Legacy Investigation Branch’s work. The Attorney General, John Larkin, has referred the case to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) for consideration of criminal proceedings. This will require the PSNI to investigate and report back to the PPS. This must be a swift investigation, as the Attorney General has deferred his decision on the issue of the Leonard family’s request for a new Inquest until the question of criminal action against the perpetrators has been answered.”

Ciarán MacAirt of Paper Trail said:

“This gross error of police reporting has done little except re-traumatize the family of Michael Leonard. The military archives prove that the police deliberately shot Michael and then lied to the media and to the Inquest into Michael’s death in 1973. Now, in 2019, the family have yet again suffered inaccurate police reporting to the media and public.”

“Furthermore, as the family’s solicitor points out, there is a significant error in the PSNI’s latest statement. Not only is it imperative that the PPS investigates this murder promptly, but it is also incumbent on the Irish Government to support the family publicly and to take the British Government to task for this heinous murder and cover-up.”

“Michael was an Irish citizen, murdered as he was about to cross the border to the safety of his home in County Donegal.”

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