Response to PSNI

28th April 2005

The family of Neil Mc Conville, shot dead by the PSNI on April 29th 2003, will visit the Policing Board Headquarters in Belfast on Friday 29th April at 11.00am to hand in a report on the killing for all its 19 members.

In a statement prior to Friday the family Neil Mc Conville released the following statement through Relatives for Justice;

‘Neil McConville (21) was killed by the PSNI near Upper Ballinderry, County Antrim, on the 29th April 2003. Two years after his death we are still awaiting a satisfactory account of what actually unfolded on that night.

‘The killing of Neil raises serious questions about the conduct of the PSNI on that fatal night – questions that remain unanswered. If anything the version of event(s) offered by the PSNI is not consistent and is contradictory.

‘A huge surveillance operation was in place prior to the killing which involved the PSNI and a British army helicopter. The operation in place was disproportionate to any alleged threat and had all the hallmarks of the shoot-to-kill incidents that characterised 3 decades of conflict yet Neil was not involved in any organisation. However, members of the PSNI had threatened Neil, and separately from this he had been warned by the PSNI that his life was in danger shortly before his killing. He was the victim of PSNI intimidation.

‘In our view the killing of Neil constitutes a major Human Rights violation which remains to be properly addressed in an open, transparent and accountable manner. This is a matter of public interest and these concerns have also been raised by human rights NGO’s.

‘The silence and inaction of Policing Board in relation to Neil’s killing stands in stark contrast to other killings which do not involve the PSNI and is disturbing raising questions about the honesty and integrity of the Policing Board.

‘We feel that this silence is more about securing support for policing rather than the will and integrity to tackle the circumstances surrounding Neil’s killing because it involves the PSNI and the implications the killing has for future policing arrangements. It is therefore easier for the Policing Board to bury their heads and pretend that this killing did not happen. We are deeply disappointed by their lack of action and concern.

‘The truth is that the Policing Board are putting the politics of policing ahead of human rights and the protection of citizens. This has huge implications for every citizen in this jurisdiction and makes a complete mockery of a ‘new beginning to policing.’

‘The Police Ombudsman has concluded its investigation and a report has been forwarded to the DPP. The report of the Ombudsman relies heavily on statements made by the PSNI. Independent evidence concerning a computerised reconstruction of the killing and prior events was generated without visiting the scene or examining the cars involved.

‘We have been disillusioned and dissatisfied with the Ombudsman’s process and have serious concerns with it. It did not involve the family or our legal representatives. We believe that Neil could have been safely apprehended and that there existed absolutely no justification for the shooting. This was clearly an unnecessary use of lethal force. We further feel that because of the nature and planning of the operation that led to Neil’s killing that senior members of the PSNI are culpable of corporate manslaughter. We simply want justice.’

Editors Notes : the family can be contacted vis RFJ

Mark Thompson
Relatives for Justice