5 May 2005 Edition

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PSNI victim's family seeks justice

The family of 21-year-old Lurgan man Neil McConville, shot dead by the PSNI in 2003, has raised questions over the actions of the Police Ombudsman, the Policing Board and the PSNI in relation to the killing.

McConville was shot close to Upper Ballinderry, County Antrim, when his car allegedly crashed through a PSNI checkpoint. At the time, the car he was travelling in was subject to a huge surveillance operation involving the PSNI and a British Army helicopter.

The Police Ombudsman recently completed a report on the killing and forwarded it to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

Last Friday, Barry McConville, an uncle of the dead man, handed a report compiled by the family into the headquarters of the Policing Board.

McConville said Neil's relatives were deeply unhappy at the way the case was handled by all agencies responsible for policing in the North.

"We have never been told by the PSNI that they killed Neil, in fact it was left to us to contact a local priest who contacted the PSNI," he said this week.

McConville added that they do not expect the Police Ombudsman's report to receive any recommendations for prosecution from the DPP.

"In our view, the killing of Neil constitutes a major human rights violation which remains to be properly addressed in an open, transparent and accountable manner. The silence and inaction of the Policing Board in relation to Neil's killing stands in stark contrast to other killings which do not involve the PSNI and is disturbing.

"This makes a complete mockery of the new beginning to policing."

The McConville family are being supported Relatives for Justice in their campaign for the truth.

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