STRAGE DI OMAGH. RESPINTA AZIONE GIUDIZIARIA DEL FAMILIARE DI UNA VITTIMA
Non è stata accettata l’azione avviata dal marito di una vittima della strage di Omagh, in richiesta di un risarcimento danni
Laurence Rush, vedovo di Elisabeth morta nella strage di Omagh del 1998, aveva deciso di promuovere una causa civile contro il Chief Constable della PSNI e il Segretario di Stato.
Una causa totalmente indipendenti da quella che ha visto vincitore un gruppo di familiari che è riuscita ad ottenere una sentenza di risarcimento danni pari a 1,6 milioni di sterline, contro quattro uomini (Michael Gallagher, Liam Campbell, Colm Murphy, e Seamus Daly) ritenuti membri del Real IRA.
Rush accusa il Chief Constable e il Segretario di Stato, di non aver agito sulla base delle informazioni in loro possesso, di non aver fornito adeguato preavviso compromettendo così le operazioni di evacuazione che si sono poi dimostrate insufficienti.
L’azione è stata però giudicata dalla High Court, ‘futile e vessatoria’ nonchè ‘insostenibile e senza possibilità di successo”.
“Coloro che hanno commesso il torto civile contro il signor Rush, a seguito del quale ha perso tragicamente la moglie, erano i membri della Real IRA che ha organizzato ed eseguito l’attentato di Omagh. Non è stata la polizia o il Segretario di Stato “, ha dichiarato Master Bell.
Si ipotizza ora il ricorso di Rush contro la decisione della High Court di respingere l’azione.
Omagh bomb damages claim fails (U TV)
The High Court has struck out a damages claim brought by the husband of one of the Omagh bomb victims against the Chief Constable and Secretary of State.
Laurence Rush, whose wife Elizabeth was among 29 people killed in the atrocity, was suing the Chief Constable and Secretary of State for failures in the apprehension, detection and pre-emptive arrest of the Real IRA men responsible.
The widower alleged police failed to act upon information received on the August 1998 bomb plot, failed to give adequate warnings and implement sufficient evacuation procedures.
The defendants sought to have Mr Rush’s case struck out on the basis that it disclosed no reasonable cause of action, or that it was frivolous or vexatious.
Granting their application, Master Bell, sitting in the High Court, ruled that the claim was unsustainable and without the potential for success.
He said: “Those who committed the civil wrong against Mr Rush, as a result of which he tragically lost his wife, were the members of the Real IRA who organised and carried out the Omagh bombing. It was not the police or the Secretary of State.”
Mr Rush brought his action separately from the landmark compensation claim brought by the families of other victims.
In that case the High Court held four men liable for the massacre and ordered more than £1.6m in damages to be paid out to 12 relatives.
Mr Rush now has the option of mounting an appeal to the judgment against him.
Master Bell had reviewed the case law setting out the duty of care owed by the police, in the course of carrying out its functions of investigating, controlling and preventing the incidence of crime.
The principle established by the leading cases is that, in general, a duty of care is not imposed upon police officers in respect of their activities when investigating suspected crimes.
During arguments against striking the case out, counsel for Mr Rush identified a number of factors which he considered led to the case being exceptional.
He claimed the Omagh bombing was a unique and distinct crime; the police had information about the threat but failed to act upon it; and the police had sufficient experience with bomb attacks to either have taken action to prevent the bomb reaching Omagh or to have evacuated the area.
However, Master Bell concluded none of these factors were capable of classifying the claim as exceptional and there was therefore no reasonable cause of action.
Dealing with whether the claim was “frivolous or vexatious” the Master took into account the allegations made in the BBC Panorama programme that the defendants had foreknowledge of the bomb by virtue of contemporaneous interception of the bombers’ communications as they made their way to Omagh.
He said the published report of the review of the intelligence material available to the security and intelligence agencies by Sir Peter Gibson significantly undermined the allegations made by Mr Rush.
Master Bell held that rules require the court to take into account “not just the interest of the parties before the court but also the interests of other litigants and the overall administration of justice including the potential for the costs, expense and time to escalate out of all proportion”.