Disappointment as Hooded Men case hits a block at High Court

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Case Co-ordinator for the Hooded Men Jim McIlmurray has voiced disappointment as the case hit a block this week in Belfast’s High Court.

The men who were interned in the 1970s are taking a case against the British government amid claims they were tortured.

Mr McIlmurray said: “What should have been a straightforward application of request in the High court in Belfast to elevate to the Supreme Court in London hit a block this week.

“We were in court for little over an hour as our barristers presented the case to the judge.

“Our application had already been submitted to leapfrog the Court of Appeal in Belfast and go directly to the Supreme Court in London, an application the crown barristers were aware of.

“On Monday the judge questioned that request despite no public opposition from the barristers for the crown.

“We are within our rights under a 1969 ruling which permits a case to go directly to the Supreme Court bypassing the court of appeal.

“We do not want a panel of judges to sit in Belfast and state that the PSNI are capable of carrying out an inquiry into the actions of the British government and members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary.

“On Monday Judge Maguire stated he wants more time to deliberate over his decision in granting the application.

“If he does decide to block the application and alternatively put the case before the appeal court in Belfast we would be looking at a possible date of April 2017.

“Both the judge and barristers for the crown are well aware we would challenge a negative outcome in the appeal courts and take it to the supreme courts so what would be the logic in delaying the inevitable.

“Our barrister stated the urgency of the case being heard on the grounds that a number of the men are now over seventy, this didn’t seem to influence the judge.

“Disappointment comes as standard to us, no matter how long it takes we will keep chiseling away until we get justice for these 14 men and their families.”