First hurdle cleared in legal battle over woman killed ‘by undercover soldiers

Posted By: December 06, 2015

Irish News (Belfast). Saturday, December 5, 2015

THE sister of a woman allegedly shot dead by undercover British soldiers more than
40 years ago has cleared the first stage in a legal battle over investigating the

Margaret McQuillan was granted leave to seek a judicial review amid claims that the
PSNI lacks the necessary independence to carry out any probe.

Her sister, Jean Smyth-Campbell, was shot dead in west Belfast in June 1972.

The 24-year-old mother of one was hit in the head as she sat in the passenger seat
of the car on Glen Road.

Until recently her family believed she was killed by the IRA but documents uncovered
by an author and researcher suggested that the British army’s Military Reaction
Force (MRF) fired shots in the area on the same night.

Lawyers for Mrs McQuillan claim the RUC had wrongly blamed republican paramilitaries
for her death, heightening their concerns about the impartiality of police to

Detectives are examining nearly 20 shooting incidents, two of them fatal, as part of
a probe into the MRF’s activities.

It is unclear whether Ms Smyth-Campbell’s killing is among their case-load.

At the High Court yesterday leave to apply for a judicial review over the PSNI’s
alleged lack of independence.

The case will now proceed to a full hearing next year.

Outside court Mrs McQuillan’s lawyer, Barry Woods of O Muirigh Solicitors, said:
“The judge was persuaded that an arguable case has been raised by the family in
relation to their concern over the PSNI’s involvement in this case (investigation).”

Stressing the point about police impartiality, he added: “If successful at the full
hearing of this seminal case, it could have significant impact for a great many
other landmark cases.”