Joe O’Donnell – Settlement against PSNI regarding collusion in murder

KRW LAW LLP is instructed by Joe O’Donnell, former Mayor Belfast.


In the High Court today, Mr O’Donnell and his wife Jacqueline settled a civil action against the PSNI regarding state collusion in attempts by Loyalist paramilitary groups to assassinate him.


Mr O’Donnell claimed police officers and soldiers failed to warn him after a British agent targeted him for gun attacks on his home. His wife also sued the PSNI and the MOD for alleged negligence in a series of suspected paramilitary murder bids between 1987 and 1989.


The case involved the role of Brian Nelson and the investigation of Desmond de Silva in 2012 into the circumstances surrounding the murder of Belfast solicitor Patrick Finucane in 1989. Brian Nelson’s handlers in the notorious British Force Reconnaissance Unit (FRU) were aware that Mr O’Donnell was being targeted to be murdered.


Today the PSNI and the MOD settled with Mr O’Donnell. This was a six figure sum of money. Both actions were stayed at the High Court today, with no admission of liability by either defendant.


Mr O’Donnell’s solicitor, Setanta Marley of KRW LAW LLP said the settlements were among the first in actions based on Sir Desmond’s review of alleged collusion and the role of Brian Nelson. He added: “These cases are an endorsement of the O’Donnell family’s determination to challenge the state on the findings contained within de Silva.”