Irish Republican News · January 17, 2007
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
RUC men may face charges

Britain’s Attorney General has received prosecution files on seven serving and retired RUC policemen after Nuala O’Loan, the North’s policing ombudsman, conducted an inquiry into accusations of their involvement in a number of political murders in the 1990s.

O’Loan’s report, entitled Operation Ballast, is due to be published next week, despite attempts by lawyers acting for more than 20 RUC/PSNI members to have it halted so their clients can study the contents.

It is understood that prosecutions may soon be taken against the men for colluding with unionist paramilitaries in murders in north Belfast.

The fact that prosecution files have been referred to the attorney general underlines the potential embarrassment facing the British government. The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) normally only calls in the Attorney General when matters of so-called ‘national security’ are involved.

It is possible, for instance, that prosecuted officers could implicate senior government officials in the killings, or that ongoing Crown intelligence operations could be revealed in court.

The Ballast report arose from demands by Raymond McCord for an investigation into the 1997 murder of his son, also Raymond, killed by the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).

Several of those involved were police agents or informers. It later emerged that RUC/PSNI Special Branch officers refused to arrest one agent even after it became clear he had carried out murders.

One victim was Sharon McKenna, a Catholic taxi driver who was also supplying information to the police and who was shot dead by the UVF in 1993.

Investigators have discovered that the majority of the UVF’s senior leaders were registered as police agents.

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© 2007 Irish Republican News