Northern Ireland

Pearse Jordan: Police officers reported to prosecutors

Pearse Jordan Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Pearse Jordan, 22, was shot by police on the Falls Road in west Belfast in 1992

Two police officers who a judge said gave inconsistent and unconvincing evidence to an inquest in to the death of an IRA man are to be reported to prosecutors.

A judge said there was a basis for concluding the officers, known as M and Q, may have perverted the course of justice and committed perjury while giving evidence.

Pearse Jordan was shot in the back by an RUC officer as he ran from a stolen car he had been driving on the Falls Road in 1982.

Judge Horner told Belfast High Court that although he was not duty bound to report the matter, he intended to exercise his discretion.

'Attempted concealment'

"I do not consider that I am bound to report Officers M and Q to the Director (of prosecutions)," he said.

"However, in the present case I intend to exercise my discretion and report Officers M and Q to the Director because I consider that their behaviour sought to conceal the role played by DP2 in the events of November 25, 1992.

"This attempted concealment could have seriously impacted on this hearing."

The judge rejected an application to lift the anonymity order preventing either officer being named.

Mr Jordan, 22, had been driving a stolen car suspected of ferrying IRA munitions when he was shot.

He failed to stop when ordered by police and sped away from a patrol car.

Earlier this month, Justice Horner delivered findings in what was the third inquest into the highly contentious death.

The coroner said he was not convinced either by family claims Mr Jordan was gunned down in cold blood or by police insistence the RUC sergeant acted in self-defence.

Testimony from Officers M and Q, who were not directly involved in the shooting, was singled out for specific criticism.

The judge concluded that one or both of the officers had edited the original logbook and that they had been untruthful when asked about the identity of the driver of the stolen car.

Following the judgment, lawyers for the Jordan family called for M and Q to be investigated for allegedly perverting the course of justice and perjury.

They also requested both officers be identified.

The court was also told the granting of anonymity to officers M and Q was made on the basis of an objectively verified risk to life.

'Necessary and proportionate'

The threat to officer M was assessed as moderate, namely that an attack is possible but not likely, but that in the event an appearance at the inquest without anonymity and screening the threat was likely to rise.

The threat to officer Q was deemed to be low but could rise to moderate or beyond if identified through court proceedings.

The judge said the measure was "necessary and proportionate" given the risk to life.

The investigation into Mr Jordan's shooting has been beset by controversy and delay.

In 2014, his family were awarded compensation for the lengthy hold-ups in concluding an inquest.

An original inquest was adjourned in 1995 after being only part heard.

Another probe was held in 2012, but the jury failed to reach consensus on a number of crucial issues - including whether the RUC used reasonable force.

Those findings were later quashed after the High Court identified a number of failings in how the probe was run.

In his findings, Justice Horner said it was impossible to determine with certainty what happened.

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