'Shoot-to-kill' cases to be made public

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Reports into police "shoot-to-kill" cases dating from the early 1980s can no longer be kept secret, Belfast High Court ruled yesterday.

Mr Justice Gillen said he accepted a coroner's view that a public investigation was needed to look into the allegation that the state had a shoot-to-kill policy, thereby rejecting the police argument that official reports into the deaths of six people, five of them active republicans, should continue to be regarded as secret documents.

It is not yet known whether the Police Service of Northern Ireland will appeal against this outcome, which is the latest in a series of legal tussles between the authorities and relatives of those killed. An investigation into whether police planned to kill those who were shot was carried out by the former Greater Manchester Police Deputy Chief Constable John Stalker. It was later reviewed by Sir Colin Sampson of the West Yorkshire Police.

Their unpublished reports aroused much legal and political controversy. The judge said that if inquests were to maintain public confidence, those concerned must be able to participate openly.