24 February 2005 Edition

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Police Ombudsman to investigate PSNI handling of case

An investigator from the Police Ombudsmans Office is to probe the PSNI handling of the case into the shooting of Ardoyne man Jason O'Halloran by the UDA in July 2002.

The 31-year-old was shot twice in the leg and once in the groin by a UDA gang as he stood talking to a friend at the corner of Rosapenna Street in the Oldpark area of North Belfast. Within minutes of the Oldpark attack, Catholic teenager Gerard Lawlor was shot dead at the Whitewell Road, as he walked home after a night out. It is thought the same UDA gang was behind the killing.

The Police Ombudsman's office launched the investigation after they were presented with fresh evidence about the shooting last year.

O'Halloran says he has serious concerns about the case and is pleased that one of Nuala O'Loan's top officers will be investigating the case.

"I won't let this rest and I would like to see the people who tried to murder me, and who murdered Gerard Lawlor, brought to justice for what they did," he said.

O'Halloran received £487 compensation from the NIO for his injuries. He had been initially offered £1,900, but this was reduced because he had six previous traffic fines. He says he will also be appealing the compensation amount, "because it is an absolute insult".

British Prime Minister Tony Blair has also urged the NIO to review the O'Halloran case

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