A man whose parents were killed when loyalist paramilitaries colluded with British Crown forces has won High Court permission to challenge the refusal of the state to oversee and fund an effective investigation.
Anthony Fox was granted leave to seek a judicial review after his evidence of a dysfunctional and chronically under-resourced state system for investing the killings was allowed by the court.
A judge ruled that he has established an arguable case in legal action being taken against the authorities in London and Belfast, the PSNI police and Coroner’s Service.
His parents, Catholic couple Charles and Theresa Fox, were shot dead by a UVF death squad at their home near Moy, County Tyrone in September 1992.
The rifle used in their murders has also been linked to at least eight other assassinations in the Mid Ulster area.
During the hearing it was described how the state had provided inadequate resources to investigate deaths in a prompt, independent and effective manner, as required under human rights law.
‘Investigations’ carried out by the PSNI’s Historical Enquiries Team lacked sufficient independence and had been undermined by a reliance on out of date ballistic evidence that has now been discredited.
The PSNI (then the RUC) wrongly identified the weapon used in his parents’ killings. The misidentification of the Czech-manufactured rifle only emerged in 2013 during the inquest of another suspected victim of the same mid-Ulster gang.
Mr Fox’s lawyer welcomed confirmation that the challenge has cleared the first hurdle. Paul Pierce, of KRW Law, said: “This enables our client to move forward towards a hearing which will allow the court to examine the systemic failures which lie at the heart of a chronically under-funded system.”
This month saw the 25th anniversary of the killings in the Moy in September 1992, and was marked by a moving anniversary Mass.
In an emotial tribute by the family,and extended family, the children of Tess and Charlie, their 18 grandchildren, and their great grandchildren, offered prayers for peace.
Father Benny Fee, a member of the extended Fox family, said the family “have fought an admirable campaign, against the odds, to bring to justice those responsible, who should be convicted for what they did, who should face justice for what they did. We pray for them and their souls.”
Mark Thompson of Relatives for Justice, who attended the Mass, said he and other staff who attended “were humbled and privileged to witness such great character and generosity extended to all victims of conflict”.
“In the search for truth and accountability it is important to witness families standing together with such positive messages of healing. Truth and accountability contribute to healing. Families standing up for their loved ones and their right to truth, makes the task of those who seek to cover up and bury the truth more difficult.
“Carrying themselves with great dignity the Fox family continue to stand for truth and justice for their parents.”