The family of 16 year-old Gerard Gibson shot dead by British soldiers July 11th 1972 in West Belfast (pictured below with Kevin Winters and RFJ Director Mark Thompson, photo courtesy of Jonathan Porter, Press Eye), were forced to take a judicial review of a failure by the the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) to conduct an effective investigation into the killing of Gerard.
In a dramatic last minute twist lawyers representing the HET claimed that they were now prepared to appoint a new team to conduct a fresh investigation.
The previous review failed to trace and interview witnesses, including the soldiers involved, and has yet to make public a ballistics report. A former member of the RUC within the HET had conducted a desktop review two years ago and refused to hear evidence from civilian witnesses. An initial RUC investigation in 1972 claimed that Gerard had died as a result of a gun that he was allegedly holding backfired. However all civilian witnesses have refuted that assertion and said he was unarmed. The RUC arrived at this conclusion despite the British army claiming to have shot him.
This HET U-turn will now hopefully facilitate a proper Art 2 complaint process that will interview all witnesses and hold to account those responsible.