Duffy abandons legal action over murders

Constable David Johnston INLM2013 009
Constable David Johnston INLM2013 009

HIGH-profile republican Colin Duffy has abandoned a legal action over being arrested and charged with murdering two RUC officers.

The 45-year-old Lurgan man was seeking damages for alleged wrongful arrest, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution over the shootings in his hometown 16 years ago.

Constables David Johnston and John Graham were shot dead in Church Walk close to Lurgan Police Station in 1997 - a month before the IRA renewed its ceasefire.

Colin Duffy was accused of the murders, but months later the charges were dropped because the Director of Public Prosecutions said the evidence was insufficient for a reasonable prospect of a conviction.

He has always denied any involvement.

Mr Duffy’s claim against the RUC and British Attorney General was due to get underway at the High Court in Belfast on Monday. But following out of court discussions a judge was informed that the case was no longer proceeding.

Senior counsel for Duffy asked Mr Justice Gillen: “Would your lordship by consent enter judgment for the defendants against the plaintiff, with no order for costs.”

Mr Duffy had issued proceedings over his detention following the IRA murders of Constables David Johnston and John Graham.

The pair were gunned down while on foot patrol in Lurgan in June 1997.

Mr Duffy was initially accused of the murders, but months later the charges were dropped due to insufficient evidence. He has always denied any involvement in the killings.

His civil action was listed for a five-day hearing before lawyers confirmed it would not be proceeding. Duffy is not liable for costs because he had secured legal aid.