The arrest in the Sergeant Campbell murder case at Cushendall has never been regarded as a conventional terrorist incident, so its unlikely to presage a flood of Troubles cases heading back to the 70s. Nor does it disturb my belief that as far as paramilitary cases before 1998 are concerned, we have already reached a de facto unofficial, unacknowledged amnesty for paramilitaries associated with the GFA. From statistics quoted by Eames/Bradley
Unlike the remit of the HET, that of the Police Ombudsman in respect of historical cases is not limited to incidents resulting in death. Historical cases can be referred to the Ombudsman through various means but so far 55 out of 122 historical cases have been referred through the HET.
To date, as a result of the HETs work, two persons have been charged with murder and one other case was sent to the Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland (PPSNI) for consideration. Other cases will follow but the percentage of the HET cases that result in court proceedings is likely to remain small.
Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London