HET report challenged
The mother of a Belfast teenager is seeking a judicial review into the police inquiry into his death at the hands of the British Army in 1972.
Lawyers for the mother of Gerard Gibson pointed out recently that the police’s Historical Enquiries Team (HET) probe lacked independence because it was headed by a former RUC figure.
They also alleged there was a complete failure to interview witnesses as part of the re-examination.
A judge was urged to quash findings that it was not possible to identify the soldier who fired the fatal shot and order a new inquiry.
Sixteen-year-old Gerard Gibson was killed in Lenadoon in July 1972.
An initial claim by the British army and RUC that he was an IRA gunman was later discounted as a lie.
The case was reinvestigated by detectives from the HET. Its report, issued in 2010, has been rejected by the teenage victim’s mother, Elizabeth Gibson.
Opening her application for leave to seek a judicial review in late November, barrister Ian Skelt said there had been a breach of Mrs Gibson’s human rights.
“The report from the Historical Enquiries Team doesn’t comply with its fundamental basic requirement to carry out an effective investigation,” he argued.
Witnesses were not interviewed, the barrister added, with the HET simply reviewing the statements that were made at the time of the original investigation.
As well as the senior investigating officer, he said other members of the inquiry team may also have served in the RUC.
He said that the Gibson family have been lobbying the HET ever since the findings were disclosed.
“The response we got in August asserts that the team has done a good job to date,” he said.
“The central issue remains completely unaddressed and unless we are allowed to properly challenge this process this will just on on in perpetuity.”
Judgment was reserved.