Families to Appeal Screening Judgement

Madden & Finucane Solicitors will today lodge papers appealing the decision of Mr Justice Kerr delivered on Tuesday of this week, in which he dismissed an application for Judicial Review of the grant of screening to RUC/PSNI witnesses.

Mary Doherty, sister of Gerard Donaghy who was killed on Bloody Sunday, had sought to challenge the Tribunal’s ruling that 20 former and serving RUC/PSNI members should be allowed to give their evidence whilst screened from public and from the families of the deceased and the wounded.

Mr Justice Kerr in his judgement on Tuesday rejected the arguments put forward by Mr. Seamus Treacy QC on behalf of Mrs Doherty and instead ruled that the Tribunal decision was correct.

In papers to be lodged today Madden & Finucane Solicitors will challenge Mr Justice Kerr’s ruling on a number of grounds including:

“The learned trial judge erred in holding that the Tribunal was correct in failing to distinguish between the different categories of applicants.

The learned trial judge erred in failing to deal with the appellant’s submission that the Tribunal’s practical independence was compromised by acceptance of the threat assessments.

The learned trial judge erred in holding that there would be a logistical burden involved in attempting to ensure that those who were permitted to observe the witnesses were “bona fide members of the extended group.”

Speaking on behalf of Madden & Finucane, Kieran Rainey said:

“It is a matter of utmost importance to the families that this ruling is challenged.

A blanket grant of screening to some 20 RUC/PSNI witnesses erodes the public nature of the Inquiry and effectively excludes the families from almost an entire section of evidence.”