Statement on behalf of Margaret McQuillan

Jean Smyth-Campbell was murdered on the 8th June 1972. There was no effective investigation into her death, which was attributed to Republican gunmen. In 2014, British Army documents uncovered at the British National Archive at Kew, London, showed that in all probability Ms. Smyth-Campbell was killed by members of the British Army from the undercover MRF unit.

In 2015, Margaret McQuillan, sister of Jean Smyth-Campbell, initiated Judicial Review proceedings against the PSNI regarding the flawed past investigations into her sister’s death, and a challenge against the PSNI, who she argued were not sufficiently independent to investigate her sister’s death.

While the court today was not tasked or able to decide exactly who killed Ms. Smyth-Campbell, it significantly found that all investigations to date had been fatally flawed. This included not only the original RUC investigation, but also the 2008 HET investigation, which also failed to identify the British Army as having been the likely organization who killed Ms. Smyth-Campbell.

The court further agreed with the applicant, Margaret McQuillan, who argued that the PSNI’s Legacy Investigation Branch (LIB), could not be independent for the purposes of carrying out a proper investigation in line with Article 2 of the ECHR.

Today, sitting at the High Court in Belfast, Maguire J stated that:

“the proposed investigation by the LIB of Ms. Smyth’s death conflicts with the requirements of Article 2 ECHR as the LIB lacks the requisite independence required to perform an Article 2 complaint investigation in respect of this death.”

Mrs. McQuillan and her family wish to state that after more than two years pursuing this case, that they are very relieved and happy with the outcome today, and now wish a speedy resolution going forward with regard to how a new and fully independent Article 2 compliant investigation into Jean’s death should occur.

Niall Ó’Murchú, of Madden & Finucane Solicitors, stated:

“This is a very important judgement for not only the Campbell family but also potentially many other families who are seeking properly independent and Article 2 compliant investigations into their loved one’s deaths. The Campbell family are very relieved that this nearly 3 year battle is over. They are relieved that an investigation of Jean’s death, which does not involve the PSNI may now proceed, and they feel they finally have obtained some justice for Jean.”