Statement by family of Seán Brown in response to the announcement by the Secretary of State to judicially review the decision of the High Court on 27 February 2024

Following the welcome decision on 4 March 2024 by Mr Justice Kinney to write to the Secretary of State requesting that he convene a public inquiry into Sean’s murder we have waited patiently for a decision to that request, which was due yesterday.


We are deeply grateful for the public expressions of support of Mr Justice Kinney’s request for a public inquiry by the then Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, the Tánaiste Micheál Martin and also the President of the GAA Jarlath Burns.


Our patient dignity and expectation was grossly abused this morning by the Secretary of State Chris Heaton-Harris and James Cleverly, the Home Secretary. Far from abiding by the express direction of the High Court to take the opportunity for once in this case to do the right thing, and convene a public inquiry, they have decided to attack our local judiciary and are actually ignoring the request and are now instead challenging the decision to issue the limited gist of sensitive information, which was read into the court record on 27 February.


Not only is their announcement of judicial review proceedings an attack on the independence of the judiciary, but it is also an attack on the truth.


These proceedings are clear in their intention. They are an extension of the intentions of the cynical and morally bankrupt Legacy Act, in that they are an attack on the truth. The State is terrified that their carefully curated official history of the conflict is now being perfected by judicially endorsed legal facts, hence their attempts to deny victims of access to the courts and access to justice.



Niall Murphy KRW Law:


We repose a high degree of cynicism as to the timing of the announcement of these judicial review proceedings, coming as they do on the on the actual date that a Public Inquiry decision due.


The Brown ⁠family are gravely concerned that this is a concerted attempt to tie them up in legal processes that could take years ⁠and that they are being used as pawns in a wider attempt by the British Government to defend its indefensible approach to Legacy


We intend to engage in these proceedings and will raise our objections as to why there was no objection raised by the Secretary of State at the time of gist and indeed why has there been such a significant delay why delay in the intervening period of more than 6 weeks.


Today’s announcement has a retraumatising effect on a family but most specifically an 86-year-old widow, already coming to the terms with the facts that were permitted to emanate from the inquest process.


We confirm that we retain instructions to issue our own proceedings given the failure by the Secretary of State to make a decision within the proscribed time, in request of the direction of the High Court to convene a public inquiry.