Retired police officers will not be prosecuted over fatal Troubles shootings
Two retired police officers identified as suspects in fatal shootings during riots in Belfast at the start of the Troubles will not be prosecuted, the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) has said.
Prosecutors examined the deaths of 20-year-old Hugh McCabe, nine-year-old Patrick Rooney and 28-year-old Samuel McLarnon in separate incidents in the Ardoyne and Divis areas of Belfast on 15 August 1969.
The three deaths were alleged to have involved RUC officers and were each referred for independent investigation to the Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland (OPONI) by the former Historical Enquiries Team within the PSNI.
In respect of Mr McCabe and Mr Rooney, investigation files each reporting one retired police officer were submitted to the PPS in November 2018. A file was also received requesting prosecutorial advice in relation to the potential for any prosecution relating to the death of Mr McLarnon.
The files contained new evidence gathered as part of the OPONI investigations, along with evidence and information gathered at the time of the Scarman Tribunal in 1972.
Lynne Carlin, PPS assistant director, said: “A team of experienced prosecutors has completed a careful consideration of all evidence reported in connection with three tragic deaths which happened during the widespread disorder of August 1969.
“In two of these cases, those relating to the deaths of Hugh McCabe and Patrick Rooney, it was concluded that there is no reasonable prospect of conviction for any offence in respect of the two former RUC officers reported.
“In the case of Samuel McLarnon, a review of the available evidence confirmed that the only identifiable suspect is now deceased. In relation to those other officers who were involved in the relevant events, it was concluded that the available evidence provided no prospect of the test for prosecution being met for any offence in connection with this death. In these circumstances no identified suspect was reported for a decision as to prosecution in this case.”