Court Decides Not To Stay Civil Proceedings against Freddie Scappaticci
KRW LAW LLP (KRW) represents a number of clients engaged in civil litigation against the British agent known as ‘Stakeknife’, and identified as Freddie Scappaticci, whose criminal activities whilst employed by the security forces are being investigated by Operation Kenova.
Today Mr Justice Horner in the High Court in Belfast handed down his judgment in a case which sought to stay civil proceedings against Scappaticci pending the outcome of the criminal investigation and any other criminal justice proceedings.
The judge decided that a stay of the civil claims was not consistent with either Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (“ECHR”) which sets out the entitlement to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time or with the overriding objective of the Rules of the Court of Judicature (Northern Ireland 1980 (“the Rules”) to enable the court to deal justly and fairly with each case. The overriding objective means ensuring that any case is dealt with expeditiously and fairly.
The judgment enables our clients who have issued proceedings seeking civil compensation for personal injuries, loss and damage which they each claim to have suffered as a consequence of the acts of Scappaticci, a double agent of the Chief Constable of the PSNI (representing the former RUC) or the MOD, to proceed to trial.
The court determined it was imperative that some progress be made in all of these civil claims. The judgment is important in asserting the right to due process in the civil courts. The judgment further undermines the attempts of the British government in its recent Legacy Proposals to stop civil proceedings and other legal actions concerning the Legacy of the Conflict.
Setanta Marley, Associate Solicitor, KRW said:
“We act in over 25 cases linked to today’s judgment and have been resisting the stay application on their behalf for nearly five years. Whilst our clients are frustrated that it has taken so long to reach this stage, the judgment is welcomed and has been a boost to morale, particularly in light of the Secretary of State’s recent unilateral Legacy Proposals. We want to push on and resolve these cases as soon as possible. All Conflict related families need closure and this outcome brings that a little bit closer.”