Beating victim is set to sue RUC

A TWO-pronged legal action will be launched within days on behalf a north Belfast Catholic whose landmark case against the RUC saw two officers jailed this week. The Irish News has learned that solicitors acting for Bernard Griffin (21) are to press forward on an action for damages after a court found that police beat him, threatened to have him killed by loyalists and then sought to charge him with assaulting them. It is understood proceedings will also be initiated over explosives charges which were levelled against Mr Griffin while he pursued his case against the RUC, but which were dropped three months later. The Director of Public Prosecutions yesterday said it has already told Mr Griffin’s solicitors the explosives charges were dropped due to a lack of evidence. But the solicitors, Madden and Finucane, insist they were never given a substantial explanation for the charges being withdrawn. Solicitor Eamonn McMenamin said: “If an explosive device is found in an attic in a house, and if two young men live there, they are automatically, in law, deemed to be in possession of it, unless they have an explanation. “The onus is on you to explain. The only excuse they (Mr Griffin and his brother) ever came up with was it was planted.” On Wednesday, Belfast crown court heard how Mr Griffin was walking home from a night out in February 1998 when he was arrested by an RUC patrol who accused him of throwing bottles at police. While he was in an RUC Land Rover he was verbally abused and beaten by an officer who threatened to have him shot by the LVF. Mr Griffin was charged with disorderly conduct, assault and resisting arrest. The allegations were only dismissed when one of the officers decided to report his colleagues. One officer was jailed for two years for attacking Mr Griffin, threatening to have him shot and for perverting the course of justice. A second RUC man was jailed for a year after admitting taking part in the cover-up.