COURT OF APPEAL TO RULE ON DISCOVERY COLLUSION IN LEGACY CASES
KRW LAW LLP is instructed by John Flynn, who is taking a civil action against the PSNI as the inheritor of the legacy of the RUC. John Flynn, who survived two murder bids against him from the UVF, has already established an admission from the PSNI that the RUC misused its powers in handling paramilitary agents. The PSNI has agreed to pay Mr Flynn damages for the negligent acts of the RUC.
However, the PSNI hold material which is relevant to the truth of the activities of the RUC in this case and access to which could determine the extent of the wrong doing and contribute to the amount of damages to be received by My Flynn. The PSNI argued that providing discovery of everything being sought could also have disproportionate implications for costs and resources. This position of the PSNI could impact upon many other people seeking the truth about the extent of collusion between the security forces and paramilitary groups during the Conflict.
Today the Court of Appeal will give judgment in an appeal against a decision of Mr Justice Colton made last year. Colton J ordered disclosure from the PSNI and was critical of its attitude to disclosure of material when collusion between the RUC and Loyalist paramilitary groups is being claimed as a ground for compensation by victim such as John Flynn. Colton J said: “I consider that there is a force in the plaintiff’s submission that the defendant has not taken its discovery obligations seriously.” Colton J said by saying that the material that had been provided by the PSNI did not comply with the appropriate rules of the court.
The Court of Appeal will rule on the ceiling or otherwise on the level of damages a victim or relative of a victim can be awarded in civil claims for damages when the injury or death suffered during a Conflict related human rights violation involved collusion between state agencies – in this instance the RUC – and paramilitary groups. In addition, the Court of Appeal will rule on the entitlement to get discovery of documents confirming collusion. Both are important in all Conflict related Legacy civil actions.
For too long the PSNI and other state agencies have been reluctant to comply with disclosure orders in an effort to maintain a lock of the archives of the Legacy of the Conflict in the North of Ireland.
Contact: Claire McKeegan firstname.lastname@example.org