Destruction of evidence relating to 1982 shooting to be investigated

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An investigation has been ordered into the destruction of evidence by security personnel during an operation at a hayshed at Ballynery North Road in 1982 where one man was shot dead and another wounded.

A probe has also been ordered into the conduct of a number of former RUC officers during the operation which saw Michael Tighe shot dead and Martin McCauley wounded.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton, Head of the PSNI Service Improvement Department said: “The PSNI can confirm that it has received a referral under Section 35(5) of the Justice Act 2002 from the Director of Public Prosecutions requesting that the Chief Constable undertakes an investigation into the actions of Security Service Personnel in relation to the withholding, concealment and destruction of surveillance evidence concerning an operation at a hayshed at Ballynerry North Road on November 24, 1982, where Michael Tighe was shot dead and Martin McCauley was wounded by members of the RUC.

“The Director has also made a referral to the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland relating to the conduct of a number of former RUC Officers involved in the same investigation.

“The responsibility for progressing matters relating to former police officers lies with the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland.

“The investigation into individuals who are not police officers is the responsibility of the Chief Constable.

“In the interests of transparency and public confidence, the Chief Constable has decided that the police investigation should be conducted by an external police service and will work with Her Majesty’s Chief Inspectorate to identify a Force to undertake the investigation on behalf of PSNI.

The team will work under the direction of, and will report directly to, the Chief Constable of PSNI who will oversee the investigation and report to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

“The PSNI will also work with the Office of the Police Ombudsman to ensure that they are provided with the information they require to conduct their investigation as speedily as possible.”