Joe McCann murder trial: failure to caution suspects ‘totally inexplicable’

The collapse of the Joe McCann murder trial poses serious questions for both the police and the PPS, Dolores Kelly has said.

Tuesday, 4th May 2021, 7:22 pm
Dolores Kelly MLA. Picture: Jonathan Porter/PressEye

The SDLP MLA and policing board member said she is now calling on the PSNI to produce a report for the board on the “failure to caution” the two former soldiers prior to recording statements.

“The collapse of the trial of two individuals accused of the murder of Joe McCann in Belfast in 1972 is a matter of deep regret.

“The historic failure to caution soldiers prior to taking statements was bad enough but the PSNI’s failure to open a fresh investigation and interview the individuals under caution after a HET re-examination in 2010 is totally inexplicable.”

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Ms Kelly added: “There are also serious questions for the Public Prosecution Service about why a decision to prosecute without statements taken under caution was deemed appropriate.

“At the heart of this catalogue of failures is a family who have been let down by the processes of justice. Their pain has been deepened today. It is important that we all make sure that doesn’t happen again.”

Sinn Féin MLA Linda Dillon has said she “shares the disappointment” of the family of Joe McCann at the collapse of the trial, and added: “I also share the family’s concerns at the way in which the investigation was conducted and the failure of the PSNI to interview the soldiers charged after the case was referred to them.

“We will continue to support the family as they discuss their next move in their campaign for truth and justice.

“This ruling highlights the need for the implementation of already agreed mechanisms to deal with the legacy of the past in a human rights compliant manner.”

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