Our firm retains a dedicated interest in assisting members of the public who have suffered and continue to suffer infringements on their human rights. The introduction of the Human Rights Act 1998 has impacted every area of law, and places obligations on all institutions of the State.
The Courts here, as public authorities, must protect the rights outlined in the Convention across all areas of law. We provide advocacy and representation, to those citizens who feel that their lone voice is not heard or listened to. Promoting civil liberties and an equality agenda, is central to this area of practice and we provide proactive advice, guidance and representation, for people who through their life experience must deal with agencies such as:
- Police Ombudsman
- Historical Enquiries Team
- PSNI C2 branch dealing with Legacy cases
We are complemented in this work through crucial support and assistance from many Non Governmental Organisations, with whom we work closely and indeed at times provide mutual advice and representation. Our NGO partners include the following organisations:
- Relatives for Justice
- Pat Finucane Centre
- Rights Watch UK
- Justice Watch Ireland
- WAVE Trauma Centre
- Amnesty International
- Behatokia – the Basque Human Rights Observatory
We represent several former internees, both republican and loyalist who have commenced legal proceedings against the British MoD, the RUC and the British Secretary of State in relation to legality of Internment without trial which was introduced here in 1971.The applicants are suing on the grounds of:
- Trespass to the person;
- Wrongful arrest and unlawful detention and;
- Misfeasance in public office.
We currently represent a number of families in relation to civil actions against the PSNI and/or Ministry of Defence (MoD) in relation to allegations of collusion by state agencies and paramilitaries in the death of their loved ones during the recent conflict. Our actions pursue damages and disclosure in relation to the State’s continuous breaches of article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights which protects and vindicates the right to life of all citizens in the European Union, as well as misfeasance in public office, a breach of statutory duty, and general negligence. The following cases are merely illustrative of the type of work that we are undertaking in this regard and is by no means definitive. The cases are ordered on a chronological basis.
1. McGurks Bar Bombing – 4th December 1971
On 4 December 1971, the UVF exploded a bomb at McGurk’s Bar in Belfast causing the building to collapse, killing fifteen Catholic civilians and wounding seventeen more. It was the highest death toll from a single incident in Belfast during the conflict. Despite evidence to the contrary, the security forces publicised the theory that a bomb had accidentally exploded while being handled by IRA members inside the pub; inferring that the victims themselves were partly to blame. Even after the conviction by confession of Robert Campbell in 1977, the “own goal” theory remained officially unchallenged. Our clients have consistently argued that this theory was promoted as part of a government policy to avoid publicly acknowledging the loyalist campaign of violence. In February 2011, the Police Ombudsman published a report about the bombing and the RUC’s investigation of it, concluding that the RUC investigation was biased in favour of the view that the IRA was responsible and that it failed to give enough thought to the possible involvement of loyalists which hindered the investigation. The report also found that RUC gave “selective” and “misleading” briefings to the Government and media, which furthered the idea that it was an IRA bomb. KRW Law have recently successfully applied for a Judicial Review of the failure by the Chief Constable to disclose a report received by him from the HET to the families.
2. Glenanne Gang – 1972 – 1980
The Glenanne gang was a secret informal alliance of loyalist extremists who carried out shooting and bombing attacks against the nationalist community in the 1970s. Former members of the Gang have alleged it was commanded by British Military Intelligence and RUC Special Branch. An independent inquiry, the 2006 Cassel Report, said that the group was responsible for at least 76 murders and there is evidence that British soldiers and RUC officers were involved in 74 of those. The Pat Finucane Centre has attributed 87 killings to the Glenanne gang.
3. Claudy – 31st July 1972
We are currently preparing litigation against the Chief Constable, the MOD and the Catholic Church for the collusive acts in their failure to investigate this atrocity.
4. Dublin / Monaghan Bombings – 17th May 1974
We represent the families bereaved as a result of these bombings on 17th May 1974, which represented the biggest loss of life in a single day during the recent conflict. We have been instructed to examine the complicity of British state forces in Northern Ireland in the bombings, the actions of the Irish state in pursuing those responsible as well as examining the integrity of the RUC and Garda investigations.
5. Kingsmill – 5th January 1976
We have made an application to the Attorney General under section 14 of the Coroners Act (Northern Ireland) 1959 to order the reopening of Inquests into these killings.
6. Stakeknife – Mid 1980’s – mid 1990’s.
We represent several families who have lost loved ones by virtue of the lodgement by the security forces of a high ranking agent within the IRA, while working for the Force Research Unit (FRU) of the British Army. Allegations have emerged to the effect that the British government allowed up to forty people to be killed via the IRA’s Internal Security Unit to protect his cover. Proceedings have commenced and at a preliminary hearing, Mr Justice McCloskey asserted “The Plaintiff’s allegations raise the spectre of a grave and profound assault on the rule of law and an affront to public conscience, as measured by right thinking members of society generally.”  NIQB 38
7. Loughgall – 8th May 1987
We represent several families whose loved ones were killed during an SAS ambush at Loughgall RUC station. In 2001 the ECHR ruled that the deceased had their article 2 Convention rights violated by the failure of the British Government to conduct an independent and effective investigation into the circumstances of the ambush. We have issued proceedings against the MOD and are presently applying to join the Chief Constable of the PSNI for their failure to consider non-lethal proceedings against the deceased and that their deaths were entirely preventable and disproportionate to their pre attack intelligence.
8. Operation Ballast / Stafford – 1991 – 2000
We represent several families who have commenced civil proceedings against the Chief Constable of the PSNI in relation to evidence of collusion between RUC Special Branch and the Mount Vernon Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF). We have issued writs against the Chief Constable of the PSNI to pursue discovery and damages in relation to the facts reported in the 2007 report by former Police Ombudsman, Nuala O’Loan, who identified systemic collusion between the RUC and the Mount Vernon UVF during the course of her investigation, including;
- The failure to arrest informants who had confessed to involvement in crimes, or to treat these informants as suspects of crimes;
- By creating interview notes which were deliberately misleading; by failing to record and maintain original interview notes;
- By arresting informants and conducting sham interviews and releasing them on the instruction of their handlers;
- By giving instructions to junior officers that records should not be completed;
- By concealment of intelligence, withholding information on suspects;
- By destroying or losing forensic exhibits.
9. Sean Grahams Bookmakers Ormeau Road – 5th February 1992
See enclosed KRW Law report in publications section. The families have issued writs against the Chief Constable and the MOD for their failure to investigate this atrocity, and further their proactive involvement in it, through the role of paid agents.
10. Loughinisland – 18th June 1994
See enclosed KRW Law report in publications section. The Loughinisland families are the first to challenge and successfully overturn a section 62 Public Statement issued by the Police Ombudsman. The families have issued writs against the Chief Constable and the MOD for their failure to investigate this atrocity, and further their proactive involvement in it, through the role of paid agents.
11. Gerard Lawlor – 22nd July 2002
In July 2012, KRW Law convened a Community Inquiry into the murder of Gerard Lawlor, on the 10th Anniversary of his death, as the State had not commenced a criminal prosecution, nor an Inquest into his death and the Police Ombudsman had not concluded a report into the families complaint. Gerard remains the last Catholic to be shot dead by loyalist paramilitaries in Ireland. In the two hours before his murder loyalists had carried out four other attempted murders in north Belfast, following an attack on a Protestant man earlier that evening. Despite an obvious pattern of violence, the recently formed PSNI took no preventative measures, and paid scant attention to the four previous attacks. The police also ignored eyewitness evidence which came to their attention after the murder. The Inquiry Panel heard from witnesses and carefully considered all the circumstances surrounding Gerard’s murder and found serious deficiencies in the various investigations that have taken place, which, in their view, amounted to collusion, in that state agencies, including the PSNI and the Police Ombudsman had all failed so far to provide an effective investigation in accordance with Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects the right to life. A copy of the Inquiry Report is available in the Publications Section of the website.
KRW Law specialises in High Court Judicial Review applications. We represent clients who wish to challenge the decisions, policies and practices of Public Authorities. These challenges involve a wide range of public bodies ranging from:
- Secretary of State
- All Stormont Departments
- Public Prosecution Service
- Police Ombudsman
- Prison Service
- Health Trusts
- Housing Executive and local Associations
We have been involved in several high profile Judicial Review cases some of which have been heard by the House of Lords.
Pre Charge Detention Rights
We have taken several challenges to the rights of the accused whilst in pre-charge detention whilst in police custody under the Terrorism Act (R v Chris Ward  UKHL 50) and the right to consult a solicitor privately while in police/prison custody (In Re McE  UKHL 15). We also have an application pending to the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of Colin Duffy and others  NIQB 31, with regards to the lawfulness of custody time limits in relation to pre charge detention.
Stop and Search Rights
We recently won a challenge against the PSNI and the Secretary of State regarding the use of Stop and Search powers under the Justice and Security (NI) Act 2007. (In Re Canning and others  NICA 19)
We successfully challenged a decision by the Minister for Social Development, Nelson McCausland MLA with regards to his decision regarding plans to build houses on the former Girdwood Army Barracks site.
We also successfully challenged the policy of the Public Prosecution Service on their policies for consulting and liaising with the victims of crime, where the Judge held that the PPS had materially departed from the Code of Practice and the PPS Victims and Witnesses Policy. (In Re MacMahon’s (Aine) Application  NIQB 93) “ The failure to follow that procedure may have fuelled rather than allayed their misgivings. There is little point in having such a policy if it is not conscientiously adhered to particularly in such serious and deeply tragic circumstances.”
Prisoners Rights RPM
We have taken a challenge against the Secretary of State for refusing to exercise the Royal Prerogative of Mercy in the case of Terrence Gerard McGeough  NICA 28. This was an important issue that raised concerns over the way in which the Secretary of State exercised their discretion to award the RPM to some individuals convicted of conflict related offences and not to others. This case proceeded to an appeal to the Supreme Court of the UK. Although this application was refused the matter is still the subject of legal challenge in this jurisdiction on behalf of Robert Rodgers, who was recently convicted of murder in 1974.
Prisoners Rights Strip Search
We currently await judgment form the Judicial Review Court in the case of Brendan Conway, on the contentious issue of strip searching of Republican Prisoners at HMP Maghaberry. This case has implications for strip search policy throughout all prisons in the UK and it is expected that it may have to be determined by the Supreme Court of the UK.
Our firm continues to develop this area of the practice and strives to provide the highest standards of advice and representation.
KRW Law are widely regarded as one of the leading practitioners in this area of law. It is our experience that the primary objective of any bereaved family in such cases is to find out as much information as possible about the circumstances of the death, particularly where the state or state agents have been responsible for the death of their loved one; to make sense out of their grief at the loss of their loved one; and to ensure that lessons are learnt from their own tragedy so that others may not have to suffer as they might have done. We work closely with independent pathologists and other relevant experts to ensure that all available forensic evidence has been captured and interpreted properly. Where appropriate, we seek to ensure that any other independent evidence that might be available from witnesses is obtained and made available to the investigation of the death. In the event that individual officers are suspected of having caused or contributed to the death, we seek to ensure that those officers are brought to account for their conduct. Where necessary, we provide advice, assistance and representation in relation to any formal complaint process that might have to be initiated or any challenge that may have to be brought against decisions made by the relevant authorities. We have represented both the next of kin and witnesses at a number of recent high profile public Inquiries, including the Rosemary Nelson Inquiry.
KRW Law are also dealing with a number of contentious Inquests, and are instructed in the upcoming Shoot to Kill Inquests, touching upon the RUC killings of several men in North Armagh in 1982, which led to highly controversial reports from John Stalker and Colin Sampson.
We are also instructed by the family of Kevin Barry O’Donnell who was murdered by the British Army at Clonoe in County Tyrone on 16th February 1992, at the upcoming Inquest into his death. A full report is available in the Publications Section of the website.
If you require representation before a public inquiry or an Inquest please do not hesitate to contact the firm for advice, assistance and representation.
Our Solicitor Advocates represent clients, charged with the most serious offences, on a daily basis. Our practice benefits from a wealth of experience at every level of the criminal justice system, from advice and assistance in the police station, to the Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights. Several of the firms partners are qualified solicitor advocates including; Gerard McNamara, Niall Murphy, Joe McVeigh and Peter Corrigan.
Our Criminal Law specialists deal with serious cases, including murder, sexual offences, serious fraud, armed robbery, indeed all offences on the criminal calendar. KRW LAW is one of only 5 local legal firms awarded the highest Band 1 status by Chambers UK with the citation : “This large firm is widely acknowledged as handling some of the region’s most high-profile cases. Specialising in human rights and terrorism work, … the firm works tirelessly to achieve the best results for its clients.”
KRW Law has successfully defended those accused of some of the most serious offences this jurisdiction ;
1. R v Kearney 2005 – Stormontgate.
Allegation of a spy ring at the heart of the devolved administration at Stormont, which led to the collapse of Parliament.
2. R v Hoey 2007 – Omagh Bomb
Murder of 29 people in single worst atrocity in Irish history. Case involved an international recalibration and interpretation of DNA evidence.
3. R v Davidson 2008 – Murder of Robert McCartney.
Case attracted massive international attention, with the victim’s family being hosted at the White House by President Bush.
4. R v Ward 2008 – Northern Bank Robbery of £26 million.
One of the largest cash robberies in world history.
5. R v Duffy 2012 – Massereene Murders
The murder of two British soldiers in March 2009 in County Antrim.
6. Sean Quinn
Represented Sean Quinn in November 2012 in Dublin High Court in relation to contempt proceedings pertaining to on-going litigation in the commercial court with regards to the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation’s (IBRC) handling of the affairs of the former Anglo Irish Bank.
7. R v Shivers 2013 – Massereene Murders
Retrial and acquittal post successful Court of Appeal quashing conviction for the murder of two British soldiers in March 2009 in County Antrim.
We can assist you with all arrest matters, Magistrates Court Summonses and Charge Sheets, Youth Court cases, Crown Court jury and Diplock non-jury trials, Appeals to the Northern Ireland Court of Criminal Appeal, Appeals on points of law to the Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights at Strasbourg.
KRW Law represent clients who are detained in prison by virtue of their remand in custody for criminal offences, however we also provide representation with regards to prison disciplinary hearings, providing advice on prison law.
We can facilitate and provide emergency prison visits by urgent video-link consultations which are available directly from our office. Indeed, we are one of the only law firms in Ireland that has video link access with the Prison Service, direct from our office, which can be crucial when emergency issues such as compassionate bail / parole arise. We also attend directly in person at the prison – please contact us for more information.
Parole Commission Representation
We also provide representation before the Parole Commission and the Sentence Review Commission. Commissioners are responsible for life-changing decisions in relation to the release of prisoners into the community as well as their recall to custody. We regularly make representations at both stages of the process, at stage 1which can include review of the case by the Single Commissioners decision, perusal of parole dossier, which will include details of the index offence, licence details psychologist, probation, sentence manager reports etc. sentence plan in order to prepare written submissions. We also provide representation stage 2 which is at Oral Hearing whereby pursuant to review of the case by the Single Commissioner, the Chief Commissioners may appoint a Panel of 3 Commissioners to conduct an Oral Hearing. Representation and attendance at these hearing involve extensive preparation that is required due to the level of detail required at the hearing and the high level of understanding that must be obtained to allow for correct cross examination.
KRW Law has developed an expertise in the area of extradition law. We have appeared in many of the defining cases in the field in this jurisdiction and have successfully defeated requests made under the European Arrest Warrant scheme under the Extradition Act 2003, from Germany, Lithuania and Spain, amongst others.
1 . Roisin McAliskey
Successfully opposed an application by Germany for clients extradition to Germany to face face trial for the attempted murder of soldiers at a British army barracks in Osnabruck in northern Germany in 1996. The application was dismissed in November 2007.
2. Liam Campbell
Our client spent nearly four years in prison as Lithuanian authorities sought to have him extradited to face charges linked to an operation to acquire guns, ammunition and explosives and ship them into Ireland. In February 2013 the Court of Appeal upheld an earlier ruling refusing their extradition request. Judges at the Supreme Court in London refused Lithuania permission to appeal in August 2013, deciding that he would be held in inhuman and degrading conditions.
3. Inaki de Juana Chaos
Mr de Juana Chaos was the longest serving ETA prisoner in Spain when he was released in 2008. He had previously been convicted of killing 25 people in 1987 and was originally sentenced to 3,000 years in prison. A warrant was issued by Interpol as a Spanish judge seeking his extradition to answer charges that he was “glorifying terrorism.” Mr de Juana Chaos appeared voluntarily at the court in November 2008 when requested. He challenged his extradition on the basis that the maximum sentence on the charge was less than the minimum of three years necessary for extradition. We also challenged the basis of the charge which the Spanish state said was contained in a letter allegedly written by de Juana and allegedly quoted by a supporter at a function to welcome de Juana home.
4. Arturo Villanueva Arteaga
Mr Villanueva Artega is also a Basque national, and he successfully challenged a European Arrest Warrant in our Court of Appeal, on 24th February 2010, on the grounds that the warrant lacked particularity and specificity of offences. Mr Villanueva Arteaga presently lives in the French region of the Basque Country.
KRW Law provide advice, assistance and representation in all areas of civil litigation. Areas of expertise include: personal injury, road traffic accidents, public liability, accidents at work, medical negligence, civil injunctions, slander and libel. We specialise in representing those who have suffered ill-treatment or abuse of power at the hands of the police and other state agencies. We strive to achieve some measure of accountability and sense of redress for our clients in actions against the police for assault, false imprisonment, wrongful arrest, interference with your property, malicious prosecution or other abuses of police authority.