Prose­cu­tors to re­view de­ci­sion not to charge Hag­garty’s han­dlers

Belfast Telegraph - - NEWS - BY ALAN ER­WIN

THE Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tion Ser­vice (PPS) is to re­view a de­ci­sion not to bring crim­i­nal charges against two re­tired po­lice of­fi­cers who al­legedly di­rected and shielded notorious loy­al­ist killer Gary Hag­garty.

The de­vel­op­ment was re­vealed at a High Court chal­lenge mounted by a rel­a­tive of one of the for­mer UVF com­man­der’s vic­tims.

Sean Mc­Par­land (55) was shot dead by Hag­garty while babysit­ting his grand­chil­dren at Skego­niel Avenue in north Belfast in Fe­bru­ary 1994.

The mur­dered man’s sonin-law, Michael Mon­aghan, launched a le­gal chal­lenge af­ter the PPS an­nounced last Oc­to­ber that it would not be charg­ing two ex-Spe­cial Branch of­fi­cers im­pli­cated by the in­former-turned-su­per­grass.

It had de­cided Hag­garty’s claims that he gave his po­lice han­dlers ad­vance warn­ing about his ter­ror­ist acts was not enough to prove a case beyond rea­son­able doubt.

But in court yes­ter­day it was con­firmed that the po­si­tion will now be re­viewed, with a fresh de­ci­sion ex­pected by the end of June.

End­ing the judicial re­view pro­ceed­ings on that ba­sis, Lord Chief Jus­tice Sir De­clan Mor­gan or­dered costs in favour of Mr Mon­aghan.

The out­come comes just days af­ter 46-year-old Hag­garty was re­leased from prison and put into witness pro­tec­tion.

In Jan­u­ary the so-called su­per­grass re­ceived a six-and-a-half- year jail sen­tence af­ter con­fess­ing to more than 500 of­fences.

How­ever, be­cause of time served on re­mand he be­came el­i­gi­ble for re­lease.

His cat­a­logue of para­mil­i­tary crime ex­tended over 16 years, from 1991 to 2007, and in­cluded the mur­ders of Mr Mc­Par­land and four other men.

Hag­garty also ad­mit­ted five at­tempted mur­ders, mul­ti­ple counts of con­spir­acy to mur­der, di­rect­ing ter­ror­ism and mem­ber­ship of a pro­scribed or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Hag­garty pleaded guilty as part of a con­tro­ver­sial state deal which of­fered a re­duced sen­tence in re­turn for pro­vid­ing ev­i­dence on other ter­ror sus­pects. As a con­se­quence his prison term was slashed from 35 years to six-anda-half years due to the as­sis­tance pro­vided to po­lice.

Un­der the terms of the agree­ment signed back in 2010 he supplied in­for­ma­tion on scores of loy­al­ist killings and at­tempted mur­ders.

But only one man is cur­rently to be pros­e­cuted on a mur­der charge us­ing his ev­i­dence.

It was pre­vi­ously re­ported that Hag­garty claims he gave his Spe­cial Branch han­dlers the names of all those in­volved in Mr Mc­Par­land’s killing in the im­me­di­ate af­ter­math.

He al­leged they told him not to an­swer ques­tions when ar­rested.

Mr Mon­aghan’s so­lic­i­tor said his client will now wait for the new de­ci­sion from the PPS.

Niall Mur­phy of KRW Law added: “That ren­ders the cur­rent pro­ceed­ings re­dun­dant be­cause, in ef­fect, we have gained the re­lief sought.”

Gary Hag­garty (left) and Michael Mon­aghan who launched a le­gal chal­lenge

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.