“safeguards for those individuals proposed by the group are patently inadequate”

In the Irish Times letters page today, Peter Smith, QC, responds to Denis Bradley’s previous response to his criticism of the proposals by the Consultative Group on the Past. From the Irish Times

I have the highest regard for Mr Bradley and his equally distinguished colleagues, but I do not believe that his prediction will be borne out by events if the recommendations in question are implemented.

On pages 147 and 148 of the report the purpose and powers of the “Thematic Examination Unit” are set out. It is expressly stated that its role would be to examine “linked or thematic cases” which are defined as “cases [that] have raised particular concern or are linked by the circumstances of death, or by the possible identity of the culprits, or touch on themes, such as areas of paramilitary activity or alleged collusion”. It is inconceivable that the drawing of conclusions in such cases could do other than involve the determination of the culpability of individuals.

Indeed, the group recognises this by referring on page 148 to the need for participants to have access to independent legal advice and the right to legal representation. My point was, and remains, that the safeguards for those individuals proposed by the group are patently inadequate.

Then there’s the question of whether all the groups involved will actually participate..

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  • Ulsters my homeland

    Equality commission equals death by intention.

  • Brian Walker

    Peter Smith’s point seems self evident to me; otherwise, an Act would be required to set aside the Human Rights Act and common law principles of justice. That’s inconceivable. I would go further: what papers can be disclosed about an individual case that do not point to individuals? Surely only a summary of the HET’s conclusions are possible. I don’t really understand themes – do they refer to areas, paramilitary groups, time frames, all of these? If this is wrong, I’d like to know what’s right – which is why I suggested a model disclosure, even if fictionalised, would be helpful.