Stan Carberry has been waiting 43 years

Colm Benstead has been waiting 43 years

The Fox family have been waiting 23 years ….


Stan Carberry’s father was shot and killed by the British army in 1972. His son, also called Stan, has been waiting for truth, justice and accountability regarding the death of his father since then.


Patrick Benstead was tortured and killed in 1972. His brother Colm has been waiting since then for truth, justice and accountability surrounding the death of his brother.


Charlie and Tessa Fox were killed in 1992. Their family, their children, have been waiting for truth, justice and accountability since then.


Stan’s father was killed by the British army. Colm’s brother was murdered by an East Belfast UDA gang lead. The Fox family parents were slain by the Glenanne Gang. All are accounted for in Lost Lives but little narrative of their losses is recorded elsewhere. They are not yet officially recorded within the annals of the corporate memory of the British state: they await their file to be marked “Closed – Family seek No Further Action”


Not all victims of the violent Legacy of the Conflict in the North of Ireland want the same thing. There is no imperative at work in the motivation of victims. Some want nothing but to forget and reconcile their loss as best they can and move on with their everyday lives. Others want retribution. Others, the majority we suspect, simply (if it were so simple) want truth, justice and accountability – accountability which is different to retribution but which might contribute toward reconciliation. They want the file of their lost one marked Closed but on their understanding that truth and justice has been accounted for, at last.


Yesterday marked another moment in the waiting for these victims as the Stormont House Agreement moved ‘forward’ without ‘history’ – setting aside, again, Dealing, Contending, Policing the Past in the North of Ireland and all that means for the process of peace.


The British government is intransigent in it obduracy in concealing the contents of its corporate memory which might result in some semblance of truth and accountability for the victims of violence of the Conflict, those who were killed and those who bear their memory. Almost 18 years after the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement 1998 and over 40 years since the Conflict conflagrated still the British state uses “National Security” as an excuse not to open its books in order to close the files.


KRW LAW LLP represents Stan Carberry, Colm Benstead and the Fox family and on their behalf we use the law to obtain truth, justice and accountability. Each move in the slow sad dance of litigation is contested, blocked and fought over. It will not, in the absence of a form of investigation of these violent acts which satisfies not only Human Rights but the Rule of Law (the monopoly of governance of which is vested in the British state our clients are forced to challenge), deter either ourselves or our clients. We, and more importantly they, are not going to go away.