Justice has not been served by sentence say politicians

Posted By: January 30, 2018

Aeneas Bonner.Irish News. Belfast. Tuesday, January 30, 2017

POLITICIANS last night said justice had not been served by the sentence handed down to Gary Haggarty.

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney said the families of those killed and injured by the former UVF commander had “received neither truth nor justice.”

“This reduced sentence means that he is effectively getting away with murder,” he said.

“But families are also being denied the truth around allegations that Haggarty’s RUC Special Branch may have ignored warnings about murder and may have covered up his involvement in murders and attempted murders over many years.”

SDLP MLA John Dallat also said relatives don’t believe they got justice.

“I sat in court today with families as atrocity after atrocity committed by Haggarty was cataloged,” he said.

“It was harrowing and a reminder of the pain that victims and survivors continue to endure as a result of a political failure to meet their needs.”

DUP North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds said the PSNI and PPS “must learn lessons from this trial.”

“Very serious revelations have emerged during this trial and allegations which demand a thorough and detailed investigation,” he said.

“It is vital that the evidence produced through this trial and any other leads are now fully interrogated and that any criminal wrongdoing is fully pursued regardless of where that may lead or whomsoever it may involve.”

Ulster Unionist MLA Doug Beattie said the sentence amounted to just over a year for each life taken.

“This is what passes for justice in Northern Ireland in 2018. The families of his victims are left feeling let down once again, and I for one cannot blame them,” he said.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said police “fully realize” there will be many questions surrounding the case but “as he is now a key witness in a forthcoming trial PSNI is now prevented by law from talking about this case.”

“Our thoughts today are first and foremost with the victims and their families,” he said “PSNI would also acknowledge that today has been a very difficult day for the families of those so tragically affected by the cases which did not reach the prosecutorial threshold,” he said.

“Detectives in the Operation Stafford team made strenuous efforts over a prolonged period. However, any investigation into cases decades old is very difficult. As time passes these difficulties, continue to grow, and in the context of Northern Ireland’s tragic past, the overall investigative challenges are complicated still further.

“Significant attempts have been made by the PSNI to bring justice to the families of the victims, but we fully realize that this provides little comfort to these families whose grief remains undiminished with time. Our thoughts are also with them today.”