Attorney General calls for rethink over IRA man’s case – but PPS could refuse

John Larkin
John Larkin

The Attorney General John Larkin has asked prosecutors to reconsider whether police should be prosecuted over the killing of an IRA man.

IRA member Colum Marks, 29 and from Newry, was shot during what was thought to be an attempt to bomb police officers in Downpatrick on April 10, 1991.

According to the book Lost Lives (which provides details of thousands of Troubles killings), he was shot three times during what it describes as an “attempted mortar attack”.

He was then taken to hospital, and died during surgery.

It adds that an inquest had heard Marks was warned before officers opened fire, and that warning shots had been fired.

It said that the inquest jury found he had failed to stop.

Solicitors acting for the Marks family have disputed whether warnings were given, and have also disputed the existence of any mortar device.

An original decision not to prosecute was made in 1993.

The Attorney General formally made the request to review the decision not to prosecute police on Monday.

However, he does not have the power to actually order such a review, meaning it is ultimately up to the PPS (headed by Barra McGrory) to decide whether to heed his request.

It is unknown when a decision may be taken.