The ongoing scandal of ex RUC facing collusion findings that do not stand up in court

News Letter editorial of Wednesday February 9 2022:

By Editorial
Wednesday, 9th February 2022, 3:21 am
Updated Wednesday, 9th February 2022, 3:30 am
News Letter editorial
News Letter editorial

Some months ago this newspaper asked when unionist politicians were going to challenge the scandal of police ombudsman findings in cases of alleged collusion with loyalists.

Report after report finds collusion yet is unable to unearth evidence that stands up in a criminal court.

When some years ago a judge ruled on the injustice of the ombudsman finding collusion (which implies grievous criminal complicity with loyalist murderers), and when that same judge then ill advisedly stood aside, and the current lord chief justice came in with a replacement finding that showed little of the same concern at the injustice facing ex RUC officers, the matter went to the NI appeal court.

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After a long delay it came up with a completely inadequate ruling that should have been challenged in the Supreme Court. The upshot of it was that the ombudsman can make findings of ‘collusive behaviour’.

And such findings keep coming.

The ombudsman website’s news section had the headline yesterday: ‘Collusive behaviours and investigative failings’. BBC Northern Ireland for much of the day led its website with this story: ‘Police collusive behaviour in 11 loyalist murders’.

Once again, the News Letter is almost alone in challenging this ongoing scandal. We are pleased again to give space to Raymond White, former head of RUC Special Branch, opposite, to outline why the current process of making findings trespasses on the right to a fair trial of ex police.

Once again we give thanks to Ray and his many colleagues for their professionalism and restraint in tackling terrorist killers over so many decades, including achieving a high clear-up rate against loyalist sectarian murderers.

Yesterday there was some good news: unionists were outspoken in Stormont against the unfair treatment of the RUC.

But much more support is needed, including a clear process from London for putting the legacy spotlight on terrorist mass murderers. And that does not mean a revival of mooted legacy bodies that, as happened after Stormont House, put even more unfair focus on ex RUC, including a ‘non-criminal police misconduct’ element.

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