PFNI fears relatives of murdered officers could be denied justice

The Police Federation for Northern Ireland (PFNI) has expressed concern that relatives of hundreds of police officers murdered during ‘The Troubles’ could be denied justice under new proposals to deal with the past.

Jul 15, 2021
By Tony Thompson
Mark Lindsay

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis has proposed a statute of limitations for Troubles prosecutions up to 1998.

PFNI chair Mark Lindsay MBE said any proposals must be fair to officers and ensure they receive the same protections under the law as all sections of society. In recent years, hundreds of terrorists have been released back into society and many terrorist suspects given letters of comfort or pardons.

Mr Lindsay said: “We’ve now heard of the Government intentions and will have to wait for the detail when it’s presented to Parliament in the autumn.

“Drawing a line in the sand will leave many people feeling abandoned and ignored. However, we have to look at these matters in the round and enter a process which sets out a reasonable chance of conviction. That becomes increasingly difficult with the passage of time and the failure of this issue to be dealt with under the Good Friday Agreement has meant that many will never see justice.

“I’m not happy that this legislation could be seen to create equivalence between terrorists and police officers who worked tirelessly to save lives. Any such link would be abhorrent and without any justification. We will work to ensure there is no such equivalence in the legislation.

“Let me be clear though, that where evidence exists that a police officer broke the law, then I would expect them to be answerable to it. This has to be on the basis of evidence though and not as a result of conjecture.

“This Bill will deliver a Statute of Limitations, a break-off set at the time of the Belfast Good Friday Agreement in 1998.

“Truth is a two-way street and there are many who were involved in terrorism who could be much more forthcoming with information that would give closure to thousands of victims.

“I have always said we should follow the evidence in a manner which will deliver truth for so many families across society who have lost loved ones.”

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