A BBC Spotlight programme broadcast on the 7th November 2015 highlighted the ongoing information war between the relatives of those shot by the military in Northern Ireland during the Troubles and the MOD. The family of Annette McGavigan, a 14 year old girl, shot dead by the military on the 6th of September 1971 at Abbey Place, Derry exposed the failure of the MOD to secure and preserve all documents relating to Operation Banner (all military operations in Northern Ireland) from 1969 to 2007.
Lawyers for the family, Harte Coyle Collins, pursued judicial review proceedings in 2014 in an attempt to obtain all MOD files in relation to the shooting of Annette McGavigan, The High Court proceedings exposed the MOD’s failure to preserve all documents relating to military activity in Northern Ireland from 1969 to 2007. The court proceedings forced the MOD to issue a Preservation Order dated July 2014 for all the documents. The majority of the MOD documents had been removed from Lisburn army HQ in Northern Ireland by the MOD to England in 2009 and have been stored in England.
The family’s lawyers mounted a further challenge in December 2014 for access to the MOD files in relation to the fatal shooting of their sister. The second High Court challenge resulted in the issue of a Lord Chancellor’s Statutory Instrument the affect of which was to retrospectively close the MOD files for a further 10 years from 2007 to 2017. This second judicial review is ongoing and lawyers for the family will ask the court to consider the legality of this Statutory Instrument and compel the release of the MOD files relating to Annette McGavigan’s death.
The BBC Spotlight programme broadcast on the 7th December 2015 focused on the war on information in relation to the shooting of Annette McGavigan and 2 other cases. The family continue to pursue their request for access to the MOD files through the courts.