npmNiall was educated at St Mary’s CBGS in West Belfast later graduating from Queens University Belfast with a law degree in 1998.  From there Niall immediately commenced an apprenticeship at Madden and Finucane Solicitors, gaining crucial experience assisting preparation for the then upcoming Bloody Sunday Inquiry.  Niall was the first solicitor employed by Kevin Winters and Co in 2001, and became partner in 2003 at the age of 26.  Niall is married with three children.

 

Niall has a long and respected track record in criminal defence work, as part of the KRW Law criminal department.  Niall is a qualified Advanced Advocate since 2005.  Niall has conducted cases from the full range of criminal offences, included complex fraud investigations, armed robbery, rape and murder.

 

R v Simon Johnston 2003
Aggravated burglary, GBH with intent, indecent assault.

Malicious allegation of “depraved” sex attack on a woman after it emerged that the woman concerned had a history of self-harm.  3rd party disclosure application crucial to uncovering key evidence.  The trial Judge expressed his “sincere regret” that he had been detained for such a period of time “for a series of crimes that he did not commit”.

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/3271109.stm

R v Ward 2008
Northern Bank Robbery of £26 million.

Chris Ward was the only man charged with the £26.5m Northern Bank robbery in December 2004, one of the largest cash robberies in world history.

 

Media Reports

http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2008/oct/09/northern.bank.robbery1

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/7661017.stm

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.

 

Judgements

Appeal
R v Shivers 2013 NICA 4 (January 2013)

https://www.courtsni.gov.uk/en-GB/Judicial%20Decisions/PublishedByYear/Documents/2013/[2013]%20NICA%204/j_j_MOR8711Final.htm

Acquittal
R v Shivers 2013 NICC 10 (May 2013)

https://www.courtsni.gov.uk/en-GB/Judicial%20Decisions/PublishedByYear/Documents/2013/[2013]%20NICC%2010/j_j_DEE8805Final.htm

 

Media Reports

  1. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-22404583
  2. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-22394061
  3. http://www.thedetail.tv/issues/200/shivers-verdict/shivers-acquitted-of-massereene-murders-after-dna-evidence-called-into-question
  4. http://www.u.tv/news/Shivers-not-guilty-of-Massereene-murders/380a3ac0-294e-4db1-a6c7-89b114165df6
  5. http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/lawyer-denounces-miscarriage-of-justice-that-saw-brian-shivers-jailed-for-sapper-murders-29240608.html

 

In recent years, Niall’s practice has widened, defending several Basque separatists in Spanish extradition applications, such as Inaki de Juana Chaos, Arturo Villanueva Arteaga and Fermin Vila Michelena.

LEGACY LITIGATION

Niall also represents many families bereaved as a result of state collusion with paramilitaries, including those bereaved at atrocities such as Loughinisland, Loughgall, Clonoe, McGurks Bar, Ormeau Road Bookmakers, amongst others.  Whereas civil proceedings are on-going on behalf of the relatives against various agencies of the State, Niall has also assisted the families in their campaigns to highlight the injustices that the individual circumstances of their cases present.

 

  1. http://www.rte.ie/2fm/tubridy/programmes/2012/0518/372172-tubridy-friday-18-may-2012/
  2. http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/republic-of-ireland/game-armbands-mark-loyalist-murders-28761792.html

 

In March 2012, Niall attended at the United States Congress in Washington DC, with families representing the Loughinisland, Clonoe and Ormeau Road relatives, to lobby American politicians as the inability of the State to deal with the past here.

 

Niall is also instructed on behalf of several families to act at the reopening of the ‘John Stalker / Shoot to Kill’ Inquests , relating to the murders of 6 unarmed men in 1982 by the RUC.

 

In July 2012, Niall acted as Counsel to the Community Inquiry into the murder of Gerard Lawlor, on the 10th Anniversary of his death.  Gerard remains the last Catholic to be shot dead by loyalist paramilitaries in Ireland.  A report released in November 2012 found that found serious deficiencies in the various investigations that have taken place into the murder, which, in Independent Panel’s view, amounted to collusion.  They found 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.

SELECTED PROFESSIONAL ENGAGEMENTS

 

20th April 2013
Patron to the Irish Famine Tribunal which was convened at Fordham University in New York City. www.irishfaminetribunal.com

 

26th April  2013
Speaker at the CAJ Conference ‘Mapping the Rollback’  convened to consider the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, 15 years on. Lecture presented on Emergency Law and Reform.

 

12th September 2013
Invited Speaker at the American University, Washington College of Law, Centre for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, on the topic of  ‘Accountability and Transitional Justice in Ireland and the UK’s compliance with Article 2 of ECHR’. With Professor Diane Orentlicher, Professor of International Law at American University described by the Washington Diplomat as “one of the world’s leading authorities on human rights law and war crimes tribunals.”

 

13th September 2013
Submissions to Amnesty International which were reproduced in their report ‘Northern Ireland : Time to Deal with the Past’.

 

27th September 2013
Convened Conference at Law Society House on ‘DNA – New Challenges’, with international experts and speakers, Professor Dan Krane Ohio USA, and David Bentley QC, Doughty Street Chambers, London.

 

March 2014
‘Time for Truth : The conflict in Ireland and the British Governments compliance with Article 2’.            EU Center for Excellence at University of Pittsburgh Law School and also Seton Hall University Law School, Jersey City, to coincide with the 24th March as the UN International Day for the Right to the Truth concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims.

 

11th October 2014
Speaker at the Irish American Unity Conference – Washington DC

“A Legal Premise to Inform Political Analysis on the Politics of Truth Recovery”

 

6th November 2014
Transitional Justice in the Context of European Convention Obligations: Article 2 and the Package of Measures Ulster Hall, Belfast

Keynote Address: Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights

 

16th June 2015
Fordham University, New York City

Guest Speaker with Professor Monica McWilliams at the New York launch of the Human Rights Fund

 

1st July 2015
Attended 114th Session of UN Human Rights Committee at Palais de Wilson Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva on behalf of Relatives for Justice to make submissions in respect of the 7th Periodic report on UK compliance with international human rights obligations.

 

8th October 2015
Honorary Chair to The Homecoming and Belfast One City Conference and Director of Legal Symposium held at the Inn of Court, Royal Courts of Justice.

 

26th January 2016
Unison Conference “The Impact of the Human Rights Act in Northern Ireland
Invited Speaker –  Reflections on the Human Rights Act (Civil & Political).
Shared a Panel thereafter with Chief Constable George Hamilton, Brian Gormally CAJ

 

29th January 2016
BREXIT: Rights & Wrongs Conference – Balmoral Hotel
The Human Rights Act and BREXIT: Challenges for State Compliance with ECHR standards for Inquests
Shared a Panel thereafter with Claude Moraes MEP Labour, Caoilfhionn Gallagher BL Doughty Street Chambers and Andree Murphy RFJ.

 

12th February 2016
Lord Chief Justice Private Meeting with Families of Delayed Inquests
Appointed by Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan QC, to act as Rapporteur to private meeting called and organised by LCJ, with families and next of kin of those affected by delayed inquests, to articulate concerns and frustrations at the ongoing impasse.

 

12th April 2016
Human Rights Delegation to Strasbourg.
Public Sector Resources, the National Security excuse, the Legacy of the Conflict and the failure by the British Government to comply with ARTICLE 2.
Made submissions to Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner and Department for the Execution of Judgments

 

18th May 2016
Irish Consulate General’s Residence, New York City
Guest Speaker with Professor Monica McWilliams and Professor John Feerick of Fordham Law School, at the Irish Consulate General’s Residence at an event to raise funds and the profile of the Human Rights Fund.

 

12-14th October 2016
Honorary Chair to The Belfast Homecoming and Conference and Director of Legal Symposium to be held at the Inn of Court, Royal Courts of Justice.
http://belfasthomecoming.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/LegalSymposium.pdf

 

13th October 2016
Lawyers, Conflict & Transition Conference Queens University Belfast
Guest Speaker on topic of ‘Lawyers and Dealing With The Past’.
https://lawyersconflictandtransition.org/lawyers-conflict-transition-conference-qub-13-october-2016/

 

6th December 2016
The Stormont House Agreement and Dealing with the Past
Inquests and the Failure by the State to discharge its international legal obligations and comply with the Lord Chief Justice’s Concept Plan

The Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice, Queen’s University Belfast,

QUB – Inquests, SHA and failure to comply with LCJ Concept Plan 6.12.16

 

8th March 2017

‘The Role of the Solicitor at the Police Station’

Queen’s University Belfast, Institute of Professional Legal Studies

 

17th May 2016


Repeal of the Human Rights Act: Implications for Northern Ireland


Committee Room 9, Palace of Westminster, London
Invited Speaker on the topic from a legal practitioner’s perspective.
Shared a Panel thereafter with Dominic Grieve MP, Sir Keir Starmer MP, Caoilfhionn Gallagher BL, Les Allamby NI Human Rights Commissioner, Lynn Boylan MEP

 

25th May 2017

The Role of the Media in Public Interest Litigation – A Solicitors Perspective

The PILS Project

The Clayton Hotel, Belfast

 

12th June 2017

Human Rights Legislation and Practice in Ireland post Brexit 

Springhill Centre for Human Rights and Border Communities Against Brexit

Conway Education Centre, Conway Mill – Belfast


 

Niall is a Director of Belfast based NGO Relatives for Justice who provide therapeutic care and legal advocacy to thousands of victims of the conflict in Ireland, particularly those affected by state violence. Niall has represented RFJ in delegations to the European Parliament in Brussels and to the office of the EU Human Rights Commissioner in Strasbourg. Niall was also part of the RFJ delegation who made a submission to the Haas – O’Sullivan team in December 2013.

 

Niall sits on the Board of West Belfast Theatre Company ‘Brassneck’ and has also acted as advisor and participant to TG4 show ‘Éagóir’ an Irish medium documentary series which examines Miscarriages of Justice.  A second series has recently been commissioned.

 

Niall is a member of the Development Panel to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Fund.

 

In 2012 Niall was named by the Belfast Media Group as being one of Belfast’s ‘Top 40 under 40’. http://belfastmediagroup.com/40under40/

 

Niall is a keen Gael, serving as Chairperson of Gaelscoil Éanna (described by Iontaobhas na Gaelscolaíochta as the fastest growing Irish medium school in Ireland).  In 2004, with others he founded the first Irish medium nursery in the Newtownabbey Borough, which opened with 7 children. Gaelscoil Éanna followed in 2008, and in September 2012 welcomed over 100 pupils to a brand new school building, at a cost of £500,000.   Niall is currently Assistant Secretary to St Enda’s GAC who have recently developed two additional pitches, which means that in the past 18 months, he has assisted Glengormley Gaels in securing over £1 million of investment. Niall also won Ulster and All Ireland medals with Antrim junior hurlers in 2002.

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