Press Release on Behalf of Kinnear and Co Solicitors and the Campbell family: Supreme Court confirms PSNI failings in case of murder of West Belfast woman Jean Smyth-Campbell, murdered by British Armed Forces in Ireland in 1972.
Kinnear & Co. Solicitors represent the family of Jean Smyth-Campbell, who was killed in a drive-by shooting by undercover British Armed Forces (The MRF unit) in June 1972. The RUC and the British Armed Forces thereafter covered up the murder, as did the PSNI more than 40 years later.
In March 2019, following a five-year court battle, the Court of Appeal in Belfast ruled that the PSNI was not independent for the purposes of an Article 2 investigation, and the PSNI were forced to apologise to the family and initiate a process whereby independent non-PSNI investigators would investigate the murder. That investigation, Operation Mizzenmast, is ongoing, led by officers attached to Jon Boutcher’s Operation Kenovo.
Today, the British Supreme Court in London ruled that the PSNI was not independent in Jean’s case.
Margaret McQuillan is Jean’s sister who initiated the case seven years ago. She today stated:
“Our family has today been vindicated by the ruling of the British Supreme Court . They have confirmed the Police Service of Northern Ireland's failings in the case. The PSNI has already apologised for these failings. We believe however that the PSNI cannot be trusted, now or ever, in any legacy case, by any family.
Despite our family’s victory, however, we are disappointed by some of the general issues of law Jean’s case dealt with. We have already won our battle against the PSNI and the British Government for a new investigation and it is well underway. However, every other family deserves the same, every family’s grief is the same, no matter what their background. There is no hierarchy of victims or grief. It is a disgrace that the British Government continues to use the courts to cover up the crimes in Ireland over two generations. ”
Speaking for Kinnear and Co. Solicitors, Niall Ó’Murchú said the following:
“Whilst the family of Jean Smyth-Campbell have today had their complaint against the PSNI endorsed by the British Supreme Court, it is concerning that this British Government, through its courts and current toxic right-wing government, continue to depart from international standards of human rights law. All victims of state violence and their families deserve a pathway to truth and justice, but the constant breaking of previous agreements by this far-right British administration means that human rights compliant outcomes will become harder and harder to get for those who lost loved ones during the conflict. ”
Speaking on behalf of the charity Paper Trail, Ciarán MacAirt, who in 2014 discovered the British Army documents which led to the court case stated:
“Jean’s family is an inspiration to families who lost loved ones during the conflict. Their battle for truth and justice is a beacon for us all. The PSNI is a disgrace and is not fit for purpose as far as investigating legacy murders is concerned. PSNI is more concerned with defending the sectarian British Armed Forces of the past than defending our families’ basic human rights today.”
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The author Ciarán MacAirt is donating all of the profits of his book, Trope: Essays and Articles, to Paper Trail and its work with victims and survivors of the conflict. Trope features some of his ground-breaking discoveries and represents a personal journey as he trudges across the killing ﬁelds of World War 1 to the back-streets of Belfast where death-squads roamed. Foreword by Father Sean McManus, international human rights activist, author, and President of the Irish National Caucus.