The family of a footballer shot dead by loyalists almost 50 years ago are set to launch a legal action against the British state over his death.
North Belfast man Jimmy Hasty (pictured, left) was killed as he walked to work in October 1974.
The father-of-two was a skilful soccer player despite having lost one arm, which was amputated when he was aged 14 after an accident on his first day at work at a local mill.
Mr Hasty, who played for for Dundalk FC and Newry Town, was shot dead by Protestant Action Force, a cover name for the UVF. His widow has now launched legal action for damages.
Her lawyer Kevin Winters, of KRW Law, said the Hasty family “have been let down” and suspect collusion in the case.
“All the typical features of collusion exist in this sad case ranging from loss of exhibits through to a basic failure to engage with the next of kin,” he said.
“The killers felt confident to wait for at least 15 minutes before the gun attack.”
Mr Winters said, for some, the courts offer a final option.
“Like so many families their last hope is accessing the courts where there is a fair playing field,” he said.
“And that’s precisely why the British government want - to lock up the courts.”
Meanwhile, the wife of a man murdered by loyalists almost 30 years ago has launched a legal action against the Police Ombudsman over delays in investigating the circumstances of his death.
Alan Lundy (pictured, right) was shot dead by the UFF, a cover name for the UDA, at the home of Sinn Féin assembly member Alex Maskey in west Belfast in May 1993.
His family believes there was Crown Force collusion in his murder. Mr Maskey, then a Belfast city councillor, escaped injury.
The murder was referred to the Police Ombudsman in 2013.
Lawyers for Margaret Lundy say the legal action is being taken for breach of her Article Two of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects the right to life, and the human rights Act “for the failure to conduct an effective investigation....within a reasonable time”.
Lawyer Setanta Marley, of KRW Law, said there is no sign of resolution to the case.
“Whilst it’s against PONI (Police Ombudsman) her anger is primarily directed against the government for failing to adequately resource PONI on legacy investigations,” he said.
“It’s farcical that families have to wait decades for complaint investigations to finish.
“While that delay persists the clock is running down on the government’s amnesty proposals.”