KRW LAW LLP represents the family of Joe Mulhern in their judicial review application to challenge the decision of the Attorney General for Northern Ireland regarding their application to him to order a new inquest into his murder. The leave hearing in that application was heard today in the High Court in Belfast.


Joe Mulhern was murdered by the PIRA in 1993. He was a suspected informer for the British security forces. The British agent known as Stakeknife, understood to be Freddie Scappaticci then head of the PIRA notorious Nutting Squad, was involved in the murder of Joe Mulhern.


The activities of Freddie Scappaticci are now subject to a proposed police investigation including his role in the murder of Joe Mulhern. The Attorney General requested the DPP to consider the prosecution of the Freddie Scappaticci for his role in the murder of Joe Mulhern by referring his murder to the PSNI for further investigation. The Attorney General has therefore not ruled on the application for new inquest. His failure to make a decision to order a new inquest is the point of the challenge being bought by the family of Joe Mulhern.


Many other families of victims killed during the Conflict who have made applications to the Attorney General to exercise his power to order new inquests either because of the inadequacies of the original inquest or because of new evidence or the failing of other mechanisms of investigation such as PONI or the defunct PSNI HET. The inquest process is an important element of the mechanisms to achieve justice, truth and accountability for the human violations suffered during the Conflict.


The Attorney General has steadfastly declined to exercise this power in many of these applications before him. His arguments are – we have argued –not sustainable in terms of UK and European human rights law. Now his arguments have been tested in court.


Should the judiciary eventually find that the Attorney General has exercised his powers wrongly then he will be forced to re-examine all the applications for new inquests.


This would include that into the murder of Joe Mulhern whose murder, we argue, was not properly investigated at the time and could have been prevented because of what was known by the British Security Forces about their agent Stakeknife/Freddie Scappaticci and their need to protect his identify within the PIRA.


In the absence of a human rights compliant mechanism of investigation into all Conflict related deaths and injuries, families such as that of Joe Mulhern are forced to battle for truth, justice and accountability through the courts.




Contact: Anurag Deb


Third Floor, The Sturgen Building
Queen Street
Co Antrim


Tel: 028 9024 1888
Fax: 028 9024 4804