Police Ombudsman makes minor amendments to Loughinisland report

Published Date: 09.03.2018

The Police Ombudsman’s Office has this morning (Friday 9 March 2018) made minor amendments to its published report into matters connected to the 1994 terrorist attack in Loughinisland.

PDF: Amended Loughinisland Report, March 2018

The Office has said that through these amendments it wishes to make it abundantly clear that its determination of collusion in the report did not apply to the RUC Commander of its Downpatrick subdivision at the time, Ronald Hawthorne.

"We did not believe he was connected to these events and have made changes which make that even clearer," said a spokesman.

The Office has withdrawn two paragraphs (5.7 & 5.82) which refer to police failures in addressing the activities of the UVF in south Down and has replaced them with a paragraph (5.85) in which it continues to acknowledge such failures but adds that these cannot be attributed to any individual police officer.  

It has also withdrawn two paragraphs (7.113 and 7.114) which provide commentary about the storing and destruction of the car used by the terrorists on the night of the attack.

The paragraph in which the Police Ombudsman makes a determination of collusion (9.40) has been amended. The Office has removed text that collusion involved ‘catastrophic failures in the police investigation’ of the attack and ‘the destruction of exhibits and documents’, although the determination remains. 

"While these remain significant issues in the report, the changes are made in order to clarify that they do not apply to Mr Hawthorne.

The great majority of the report remains unaltered and the Office will continue to defend the Judicial Review action taken by the Northern Ireland Retired Police Officers Association regarding our legal powers," said a spokesman.  

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