The family of murdered Gaelic sports official Sean Brown is set to sue the PSNI chief constable and British ministry of defence over the part they played in his death.
The move comes more than 18 years after the respected County Derry man was shot dead by loyalists in apparent collusion with British forces.
The 61-year-old was abducted as he locked the gates of Bellaghy Wolfe Tones in May 1997. He was then driven to a country lane outside Randalstown in Co Antrim where he was shot six times.
No-one has ever been charged with his murder, which was met with shock across the north. It is believed that several British agents within the ranks of the LVF had a part to play in the brutal murder.
Lawyers acting for his widow Bridie have now lodged legal papers connected to the case. She is claiming damages for “wrongful acts/omissions, neglect and default of the defendants”.
The document said: “The said acts and/or omissions constituted a conspiracy by the use of unlawful means and/or a conspiracy to murder/injure, misfeasance in public office, trespass to the person and/or negligence of the defendants, their servants and agents.”
The Brown family is currently involved in a separate legal challenge against the British government over delays in his inquest and the failure to release key documents connected.
Lawyers for the family have also demanded to know why the terms of reference of a previous police review of the case did not include other sectarian murders.
The Brown family’s solicitor Kevin Winters said the latest case is significant.
“This case is coming against a background of a couple of things including the systemic failure of the state to address the past,” he said.
“Yet again another family, in this case the Brown family, have had to take matters into their own hands and try to get justice because to date the authorities have failed them. There have been failing politically and there have been failings with the inquest system.”
Paul O’Connor from the Pat Finucane Centre, who has worked closely with the Brown family, said they should not have been forced into taking legal action.
“It’s a terrible indictment of the PSNI that the family are forced into this course of action,” he said.
“Those involved in the murder of Sean Brown, some of whom were state agents, could have been arrested within hours. That they weren’t speaks volumes for the veto exercised by special branch at the time.”
UN MOVE ON FINUCANE MURDER
In other news, Relatives For Justice has welcomed the call by the United Nations for an inquiry into the killing of West Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane.
The United Nations Committee on Civil and Political Rights has called for an inquiry into the 1989 murder of human rights solicitor Pat Finucane.
Relatives for Justice director Mark Thompson welcomed the call from the human rights experts and called for the British Government to take action.
“Today’s findings require an immediate response from the British Government and the Secretary of State and urgent movement on all of the recommendations,” he said. “These findings need to be the subject of urgent debate in Stormont, Westminster and Leinster House.”
Sinn Fein Justice Spokesperson, Raymond McCartney said Relatives For Justice were to be congratulated on the successful outcome of its substantial submission to the committee.
“This is a significant development and one which the British government cannot afford to ignore,” he said.