Northern Ireland

Peter McTasney: Challenge to PSNI murder investigation fails

Peter McTasney Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Peter McTasney was shot dead in front of his three-year-old daughter

A legal challenge to the way the PSNI has investigated a murder linked to a loyalist supergrass has been rejected.

Catholic voluntary worker Peter McTasney was shot dead by the UVF at his home in north Belfast 25 years ago.

Lawyers for Mr McTasney's family argued the PSNI was reluctant to investigate because of fears of revelations about Special Branch agents.

Former UVF commander Gary Haggarty has been charged with the killing.

He agreed to become what is called "an assisting offender", a modern day supergrass.

The former Special Branch agent is facing a total of 212 charges, and has also made allegations about serious criminal activity by the police officers to whom he reported.

The lawyers representing the McTasney family claimed the police had delayed the investigation because they feared what Haggarty might reveal.

But their bid to challenge the PSNI for unlawfully failing to investigate within reasonable time was refused.

Premature

"For the court to conduct an investigation under the guise of judicial review proceedings at this stage would at best be premature," the judge said.

The judge concluded that there was "simply insufficient evidence to argue that there has been unreasonable delay in this matter".

Mr McTasney was murdered in the Bawnmore estate in February 1991 in front of his three-year-old daughter.

A Police Ombudsman report identified the murder as one of 10 linked to a UVF unit operating out of the Mount Vernon estate.

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