29/01/2018

Loyalist Supergrass Sentenced To Over Six Years Behind Bars

Loyalist supergrass Gary Haggarty has been sentenced to six and a half years behind bars for 202 terror offences.

The former loyalist paramilitary turned police informer previously pleaded guilty to five murders.

He was originally sentenced to 35 years, however he had the time reduced after he co-operated with the police.

He also admitted five attempted murders, including against police officers; 23 counts of conspiracy to murder; directing terrorism; and membership of a proscribed organisation.

He has already served three years on remand.

SDLP MLA John Dallat has said that victims are sorely disappointed and feel let down by the scale of the reduced sentence.

He said: "Relatives of those murdered by UVF death gangs with the involvement of Gary Haggarty don't believe they got justice in Court 13 today. While they were prepared for some 'discount' for Haggarty they didn't expect the scale of the reduction he has received for a series of heinous murders.

"After committing despicable crimes, it feels like he's been given a 'get out of jail free' card.
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"Not only will Haggarty walk free but he has named none of the police officers who were involved in collusion on a grand scale.

"It is unacceptable that so many innocent people died and those with blood on their hands get a 'discount' on their sentences while their minders go free.

"I sat in court today with families as atrocity after atrocity committed by Haggarty was catalogued. It was harrowing and a reminder of the pain that victims and survivors continue to endure as a result of a political failure to meet their needs."

Sinn Féin justice spokesperson Raymond McCartney said the scale of collusion in the case is "appalling".

He said: "The families have received neither truth nor justice. Gary Haggarty pleaded guilty to over 200 offences, including five murders, all of which were committed while working as a police informer.

"This reduced sentence means that he is effectively getting away with murder.

"But families are also being denied the truth around allegations that Haggarty's RUC Special Branch may have ignored warnings about murder and may have covered up his involvement in murders and attempted murders over many years."

(CD/LM)

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