Family of murdered Loyalist to sue Libya
We act on behalf of the family of William Kingsberry Snr who was shot at his home on Lecale Street, Belfast on the 13th November 1991. Around 6.30 pm two PIRA gunmen entered the home through the back door armed with a 9mm pistol and an AKM assault rifle. They proceeded through the house, to the living room where they shot and killed William Kingsberry Snr and his stepson, Samuel Mehaffey. While entering the house the gunmen pushed past both of our clients and pointed a gun at them. After carrying out the attack the gunmen left through the front door and fleeing the scene.
The AKM rifle is a version of the AK-47 rifle and was primarily manufactured in Czechoslovakia and Romania. It has emerged through open-source material that Libya had provided the IRA with AKM rifles in the 1980s which continued to be in use until the ceasefire. It is estimated that by 1998 that PIRA around 600 to 1200 AKM/AK47 rifles making up the majority of the rifles in their possession. These rifles were supplied by the Libyan State and smuggled in from Libya in the 1980s in 5 large shipments along with other weaponry, explosives, and ammunition. Only one of the five shipments, on the Eksund, was intercepted on 1st November 1987 and was found to contain amongst other weaponry 1000 AK47/AKM rifles. These shipments were provided by the State of Libya partly in retaliation for the British Government’s support for the US Air Force’s bombing attacks on Tripoli and Benghazi in 1986-1987.
Libya has previously provided compensation to victims in other countries who had suffered as a result of Libyan backed attacks including the USA, France, and Germany. However, victims of Libyan supplied arms in Ireland and the UK have been deprived of any sort of redress by multiple British administrations.
Arising out of these failings the sons of Billy Kingsberry have initiated civil proceedings against the State of Libya and other family members present that night are also now taking cases. The focus of these actions is to access the billions of dollars of restrained funds seized by the British government after the collapse of the Gaddafi regime in 2011 under a UN mandate. Leave was granted by the High Court in Belfast on the 1st of July to serve proceedings on the State of Libya. The Court order granted signposts similarly themed proceedings against the British Government over its role in the supply of South African weaponry to loyalists in the mid-1980s.
Speaking today, Gary Duffy of KRW said:
“The grant of leave by the Court to prosecute these actions provides a route to justice and compensation not just for the other 11 applications currently in front of the Court but also to all victims of Libyan supplied weaponry and to victims of arms supplied by apartheid South Africa. These proceedings arise out of the ongoing failure by the British government to provide proper redress to victims of Libyan supplied weaponry and a need to address the ongoing justice deficit. All political engagement to date has failed these victims. we now seek judicial intervention to help bring resolution.”