Relatives of those killed in the Loughinisland massacre have welcomed a judge’s decision to voluntarily step aside from a case challenging a watchdog finding that police colluded with the killers.
Justice McCloskey told Belfast High Court he was passing a judicial review on the Loughinisland shootings to another judge. This was to ensure the families of six Catholic men shot dead by a Loyalist terror squad retained confidence in the legal system.
The judge had faced claims he potentially held a subconscious bias due to his involvement, as a barrister, in a similar case 16 years ago.
He rejected that last Friday. The judge was scathing of the application, branding elements of it “flimsy, artificial and entirely unpersuasive”.
Having ruled out bias to the surprise of onlookers in the court, the judge announced he would step away from the case.
McCloskey delivered a damning judgment against Police Ombudsman Dr Michael Maguire last month.
The ruling said that the ombudsman had exceeded his statutory powers by declaring cops guilty of colluding in the Ulster Volunteer Force attack in the County Down village of Loughinisland in 1994.
He had not yet ruled on whether Maguire’s findings should be formally quashed. So the Ombudsman’s conclusions still stand.
Emma Rogan, whose father Adrian was killed at Loughinisland, said “All we ever wanted was the truth, that’s it, the bottom line—everybody deserves it.
“It’s human decency for people to know and for people to acknowledge what happened to their loved ones. That’s all we want.
“We welcome a new judge taking fresh eyes and looking at our case again.”
She added, “I will be here fighting for truth and justice until I have no fight left in me.”
Solicitor for the Loughinisland families, Niall Murphy, said, “This was the most unprecedented resolution to a judicial review application that I have ever experienced in my years in practice.”
Murphy added, “Let there be absolutely no doubt—there was collusion in Loughinisland.”
Special Branch’s killer sentenced to six years
A former loyalist paramilitary killer and police informer has been sentenced to six and a half years in prison for 202 terror offences. He will not serve much of it.
Ulster Volunteer Force chief Gary Haggarty pleaded guilty to five murders as his part of a state deal.
Among those killed was grandfather Sean McParland.
He was shot dead by Haggarty in front of his children to protect his position as an informer, the judge said.
He sentenced him to 35 years in prison for that offence. This was reduced by 75 percent for all assistance to prosecutors, then by a further 25 percent for his guilty plea
He is also entitled to credit for the time he has spent on remand a total of 1,186 days.
Kieran Fox’s dad was killed by Hagarrty. He said, “How can a man convicted of that many crimes be set free? The man is a serial killer, he was a paid state informer, he was allowed to kill at will, police knew he was killing at will and let it continue.”
A map that shows the whereabouts of people who use fitness devices such as Fitbit also reveals highly sensitive information about the locations and activities of soldiers at US military bases.
The CIA giving 2,500 such devices to spooks it called overweight makes spotting a secret torture site a little easier.
Tory ex-ministers look for Brexit work
Three Tory ex-cabinet ministers have been accused of trying to profit from the confusion stemming from Brexit.
Lord Andrew Lansley, Peter Lilley and Andrew Mitchell MP were lured to a hotel under the pretence a Chinese businessmen wanted to pay cash for inside information.
It was an investigation by the Channel 4’s Dispatches.
Former trade secretary Lilley, who stepped down from being an MP at the last election, told undercover reporters for the programme he had close links to Brexit minister Steve Baker. He also said he regularly meets comedy posho Jacob Rees-Mogg.
Lord Lansley said Theresa May had been to his wedding and he would charge £4,000 a day for consulting about Brexit.
While Sutton Coldfield MP Andrew Mitchell allegedly explained he had other paid work besides his job as an MP but he would welcome some more.
Not to be outdone by Boris Johnson calling for a bridge to be built over the Channel, DUP politicians are calling on Theresa May to cough up £20 billion to build one between Northern Ireland and Scotland.
Why not? She’s given them everything else they want.
Standard condemns men only clubs
The Evening Standard was quick to condemn “City sexists” after the notorious Presidents Club dinner.
So let’s hope nobody was unkind enough to mention editor George Osborne’s time in Oxford University’s all-male Bullingdon Club.
“Women aren’t allowed to formal dinners,” another ex-Buller once revealed, “but at informal gatherings we would make them get on all fours like a horse, whinny and bring out hunting horns and whips.”
It was, he added, “all done respectfully”.
Of course it was, such denials are nothing to sniff at.
Quarter of parents miss out meals
Almost one in four parents are skipping meals because they cannot afford to buy food, revealing shocking levels of “hidden hunger”, according to a new report.
A survey of over 2,000 adults showed that more than one in ten do not have enough money to buy meals, rising to almost one in four of parents with children under the age of 18.
Most of those questioned by End Hunger UK said their food bills had gone up in the past few months. Around one in 12 said they had gone without food for a whole day because of lack of money in the past year.
Parents with primary school-age children were most likely to go without food.