Kinnear & Co. Solicitors represent the family of Jean Smyth-Campbell, who was killed in a drive-by shooting by the undercover British Army Unit (the MRF), in June 1972.
At the time Jean’s family were told that the IRA had carried out the attack. The RUC then parroted this falsehood to the inquest in November 1972. In 2008 the PSNI’s HET unit again repeated the lie, and the cover-up continued. Then, in 2014, researcher Ciaran MacAirt, of the legacy charity Papertrail, uncovered contemporaneous British Army archives in which the MRF admitting the killing. The family immediately sought to have a fresh Article 2 complaint investigation into the murder, which would not involve the PSNI.
Following a nearly five-year legal battle, the Court of Appeal today said that the PSNI was not independent for the purposes of an Article 2 investigation, and criticised them for not taking steps to re-investigate the case. The Court also ordered that a prompt new Article 2 complaint investigation be undertaken immediately.
Speaking after the hearing, Margaret McQuillan, sister of Jean Smyth-Campbell stated;
“We have very relieved and grateful that the judges have ruled that there should be a new investigation into Jean’s murder. We believe the PSNI have contributed to the cover-up just like their predecessors in the RUC did before them. The PSNI’s H.E.T. lied to us in 2008 about who killed Jean. Now the court has agreed with us. We demand a new investigation immediately, free from PSNI interference and bias.”
Speaking for Kinnear and Co. Solicitors, Niall Ó’Murchú said the following:
“The PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton recently stated that he did not want the PSNI involved in legacy cases. With all due respect he is talking absolute nonsense. If that was the case, he wouldn’t have appealed this case in the first place. The PSNI have thrown the kitchen sink at this case, and treated Jean’s family with absolute contempt. He should hang his head in shame and apologise to Jean’s family. Furthermore, he should publicly state that he is not going to appeal this judgement, and thereafter fully co-operate with the immediate establishment of a new independent and outside group of investigators, who can finally investigate this case properly.”