In the Irish 22 November 2007 News the front page story is about former British Army Marine Richard Elkington who served in South Armagh and was responsible for the murder of Fergal Caraher and the wounding of his brother Miceal Caraher on December 30th 1990. Elkington, now a serving policeman in Canada with the Greater Sudbury Police Service in Ontario, was convicted of racial abuse in his previous employment with Peel County Police Service. The conviction, that of Racial Profiling, was the first of its kind in Canada.
Below is a copy of the full statement released by Fergal and Miceal’s father, Peter John Caraher, through Relatives for Justice in response to this news.
‘We are not at all surprised that Richard Elkington has been involved in further human rights abuses.
‘This stems from the legacy of a culture of impunity afforded to him whilst in Ireland regarding the fatal and deliberate shooting of my son Fergal and the wounding of my other son Miceal. In fact this is a systemic occurrence with British army personnel who were responsible for human rights violations in Ireland going onto Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere only to subject its people to similar treatment.
‘Had Richard Elkington been properly held to account then this latest incident would not have occurred.
‘It is interesting that this week international news reports have stated that the British withdrawal from Basra saw a 97 percent drop in killings’
‘Had impunity not been a common feature of British army violence in Ireland then the people of Basra may have been spared the past terrible number of years and lessons would have been learned.
‘It is my view that the people of Canada should reject this person who has absolutely no positive contribution to make other than that of racial and human rights abuse – I would be interested to hear if he had made any omissions regarding his time in South Armagh and the attack on my sons.
Commenting Mark Thompson of Relatives for Justice said:
‘it would be interesting to know if when he applied to join the police in Canada did he disclose that he was charged but not convicted for the murder of Fergal and the wounding of Miceal.
‘Although not convicted of murder as initially charged it is important to fully understand the anomaly that exists in the law here with regard to members of the RUC and the British army in that they can only be charged with murder and not any reduced circumstances such as manslaughter whereby ordinary citizens can be charged for murder yet convicted of manslaughter.
‘Alongside non-jury courts and no independent investigative mechanisms, this practice effectively ensured that the chance of a successful prosecution was almost impossible, a fact underlined with fewer than 20 prosecutions being initiated in almost 400 killings by the British army and the RUC of which only 3 were initially successful only to be later quashed. Lawyers, civil liberties groups, and families consistently called for the law to be rectified in line with that applicable to everyone else. Indeed if anything there should have been a more rigorous process for those allegedly claiming to uphold law and order. Unfortunately this was never the case. This loophole was adjudged by families, whose loved ones were killed by the British army, as a central plank in the overall policy of impunity.
‘This is a vitally important consideration to be taken into account when the Canadian people assess this individual and his past.’