Family of murdered GAA official to sue police and MoD

Posted By: July 27, 2015

Connla Young. Irish News. Belfast). Monday, July 27, 2015 

THE family of murdered GAA official Sean Brown are to sue the PSNI chief constable and British Ministry of Defence (MoD) over the part they believe they played in his death.

The move comes more than 18 years after the respected Co Derry man was shot dead by loyalists.

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, 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.

Earlier this year Policing Board member Dolores Kelly openly accused the PSNI of protecting the killers because they are state agents.

Chief Constable George Hamilton later denied the claim.

Solicitors acting for Mr Brown’s widow Bridie have lodged legal papers connected to the case.

She is claiming damages for “wrongful acts/omissions, neglect and default of the


The documents read: “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 are involved in a separate legal challenge against the British government over delays in his inquest and the failure to release key documents connected.

Solicitors for the family have also demanded to know why the terms of reference of a previous PSNI review of the case did not include other sectarian murders.

In 2004 a damning report by the then police ombudsman, Nuala O’Loan, found “significant failures” in the RUC investigation into Mr Brown’s murder.

She described it as “incomplete and inadequate”.

Baroness O’Loan concluded that while there was no evidence of collusion between security forces and the loyalist killers, police had given “safe passage” to the car used in the murder and “no earnest effort was made to identify those who had carried out the murder”.

In April nationalist members of Magherafelt Policing and Community Safety Partnership boycotted a meeting of the policing body at the request of the Brown family.

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 family, said they should not have been forced to take legal


“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.”