Scottish police set to probe Tighe shooting

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The Scottish police will carry out an investigation into how Security Service Personnel handled evidence in relation to an RUC shooting of a teenager in Lurgan more than 30 years ago.

Michael Tighe (17) was shot dead and another man, Martin McCauley (19) was wounded by members of the RUC at a hayshed at Ballynerry Road North, Lurgan, on 24 November, 1982.

A statement from the PSNI confirmed the Police Scotland probe will look into “the withholding, concealment and destruction of surveillance evidence” concerning the operation.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton explained: “This follows a referral under Section 35(5) of the Justice Act 2002 from the Director of Public Prosecutions in January 2015 requesting that the Chief Constable undertook an investigation into this.

“In the interests of transparency and public confidence, the Chief Constable decided that the police investigation should be conducted by an external police service and asked Her Majesty’s Chief Inspectorate to identify a service to undertake the investigation on behalf of the PSNI. Police Scotland will conduct the investigation in relation to the actions of individuals who are not police officers. The Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland will carry out an investigation in relation to the conduct of a number of former RUC officers involved in the same investigation.

“Police Scotland will appoint a chief officer to lead the investigation who will have the full delegated authority of the Chief Constable. At the conclusion of the investigation, the chief officer will then report to the Chief Constable for onward transmission to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

“Any matters which come to the attention of the Police Scotland investigation team which indicate, or appear to indicate, any sort of criminality or misconduct by current or former police officers will be referred to PONI.”

The conviction of prominent republican Martin McCauley on a weapons offence was quashed last year after senior judges accused the law enforcement agencies of ‘grave misconduct’.

Tapes produced during a surveillance operation at the hayshed where Mr McCauley was wounded and Mr Tighe was shot dead were found to have been concealed and destroyed, the Court of Appeal in Belfast said. Recordings revealed that no warnings were shouted by the officers before they opened fire, according to a review of the case.

McCauley went on to become one of the republican Colombia Three who skipped bail on unrelated South American terrorism charges.