04 December 2005

FAIR's 'shuns the court' plea

Sunday Life

By Alan Murray
04 December 2005

A VICTIMS group says it will boycott the special court planned by the Government to deal with the crimes committed by 'On The Run' terrorists.

And Families Acting for Innocent Relatives has urged all witnesses and victims' relatives to shun the court, because they claim the proposals will scupper attempts to get at the truth surrounding the killings.

FAIR spokesman Willie Frazer warned relatives that providing evidence to the court, which is expected to be chaired by a retired High Court Judge, will render their testimony "spent and worthless".

He said he didn't expect any relative associated with FAIR to go near the 'OTR' court.

"It's our understanding that any witness statements or evidence given to this proposed court won't be able to be used in any other legal forum, whether it be in a High Court action or any other future criminal proceedings," said Mr Frazer.

"Whatever is given to this tribunal will become legally useless after it is presented so there will be no FAIR people near it.

"Does Peter Hain think I am going to forfeit the possibility of seeing my father's killer brought to justice through some shady deal with the IRA?

"I won't be near this nor do I expect any relative or witness to be at any of the events."

The Secretary of State has indicated that the Government will consider amendments to the Bill which will be debated in Committee in the Commons on Tuesday and Thursday if they have substantial support.

The DUP has already tabled 55 amendments, including a proposal to exclude from the scheme anyone guilty of murder or a similar offence for which a life sentence could be imposed.

It also proposes a separate provision for members of the security forces who might be accused of offences committed before 1998.

slnews@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

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