Carberry family apply for injunction against PSNI

RFJ's Caseworker Paul Butler with Stan Carberry, Betty Carberry and Solicitor Kevin Winters

A west Belfast family will seek to have an injunction applied by the High Court to prevent the PSNI investigating their father’s killing by the British Army.  Stanislaus Carberry was killed in November 1972 by the British Army on the Falls Road. At the time of his death the British Army’s Royal Military Police (RMP) interviewed the soldiers, an arrangement that the RUC agreed to in cases where the British Army had killed civilians. This arrangement meant there was no effective or proper investigation by the RUC into killings carried out by British soldiers.

The Carberry family earlier this year launched legal proceedings against the HET for failing to properly investigate the killing of their father by the British Army.  A judicial review of the case is planned to be heard on Friday 27th September. The court case would once again put the spotlight on the HET and its failure to properly investigate state killings. However, the Carberry family have now been informed that the HET have handed the case over to the PSNI.

The Carberry family solicitor Kevin Winters had sought a judicial review of the HET’s handling of the case.  The family had been contacted by a civilian witness into their father’s killing whose version of events differed from that given by soldiers in their statement to the RMP. This was new and compelling evidence yet the HET refused to have the soldiers arrested and interviewed under caution.

Paul Butler of Relatives for Justice (RfJ) said that the decision to hand the case over to the PSNI is an attempt by Matt Baggott and the PSNI to prevent the judicial review of the HET proceeding.  This case would further expose the failings of the HET in a court of law and the Chief Constable is trying to stop that happening.  Relatives for Justice support the Carberry family applying for an injunction to prevent the PSNI investigating the case.

The Carberry family had engaged with the HET in good faith six years ago.  However, it became clear when the family met with the HET that they were not carrying out a proper or effective investigation into their father’s killing. The HMIC inspection of the HET has vindicated the family’s view that the HET is a flawed process to address state killings. RfJ consulted with over 300 families after the HMIC published their report into the HET.  It was clear that families of state and non state killings do not believe the PSNI should investigate the cases of their loved ones.  For many families the PSNI is too closely associated with the RUC and members of the RUC still have positions of influence within the PSNI. Matt Baggot’s recent decision to pass 13 military cases that the HET were reviewing to the PSNI for investigation will only anger families.

Stan Carberry the son of Stanislaus Carberry said he is determined to find the truth about how the British Army killed his father.  I want the court case against the HET to proceed.  Matt Baggot must not be allowed to stop the judicial review of the HET from going ahead. It is no coincidence that the HET comes under the responsibility and control of the PSNI and here we now have the PSNI trying to prevent the court case going ahead. The HMIC report and the failings identified are as much to do with the PSNI as they do about the HET.

I totally reject any PSNI involvement in my father’s case. I never received a proper investigation into my father’s death by the RUC or the HET and I certainly have no faith in the PSNI.  There needs to be a totally new independent mechanism put in place to deal with state killings that has nothing to do with the PSNI.

Paul Pierce of Kevin Winters Law said that In light of the PSNI announcement that they will now investigate these 13 deaths involving British Military personal, the Carberry Family have been invited to withdraw their application for Judicial Review. In view of this most recent announcement and the absence of any detail regarding how, or more importantly, who will carry out these investigations, we believe that this application should continue to allow the court to fully examine the issues of concern regarding the independence and impartiality of the HET. The fact that the PSNI now have sole responsibility for these investigations can only cause further distress to these families and will compound the concerns that have existed for some time over how these killings can be properly investigated by the state.