13th June 2023
Today, after a 10 year campaign for truth and justice, the Police Service of Northern Ireland have issued an apology to those now commonly referred to as ‘the Hooded Men’.
The apology was provided during a private meeting between the Hooded Men and their lawyers this morning at Garnerville PSNI.
During the meeting it was disclosed that an apology had been hand delivered to Mr Joe Clarke on his death bed last Thursday 8th June 2023 by his solicitor Mr Darragh Mackin (Phoenix Law) and his friend and case advocate Jim McIllmurray in the presence of his wife. Mr Clarke tragically died just 4 days later, on 12th June 2023.
Our Mr Darragh Mackin who acts for the majority of the Hooded Men and the recently deceased Mr Clarke said:
“The Hooded Men have fought a 10 year campaign for justice. Since their landmark victory before the Supreme Court in December 2021, we have engaged at the very highest level to try and find a resolution for our clients. Today, almost 18 months on, the PSNI have today issued our clients with a formal apology that recognises the torturous treatment to which our clients sustained.
The publication of this apology comes after weeks of intense negotiation in which drew to a close in the days before Mr Joe Clarke tragically passed away. In the last days of his life, Mr Clarke was finally delivered closure in the form of an apology, for which he had long since campaigned. This is a seismic development in a seismic case.
Most importantly, in times of debate on how the legacy of the past should be addressed, we can and should forever point to the case of the Hooded Men as the pin up of due process, humanity and resolution coming together under one umbrella. This case is an example of why the efforts by the British Government to brush the legacy of the past under the carpet will never, and can never, work.
Tribute ought to be paid to those at the upper echelons of the Police Service of Northern Ireland and in particular ACC Todd and head of Legacy Branch, Mr Ian Saunders who despite the sensitivities engaged in an extensive negotiation, and against all odds, ensured the delivery of an apology before the passing of Mr Clarke. Today, those efforts must be acknowledged and appreciated in what is truly a landmark development.
Mr Clarke was a larger than life character who had unrivalled generosity and charisma. This apology is a testament to that character and tenacity, in demonstrating that where there is a will; there is always a way.
What is notably today is the silence by the British Government. The time is now for the Government and MOD to apologise for their part in these torture techniques. Today proves, nobody is above the law. ”
The Contents of the apology are as follows;
The Police Service of Northern Ireland acknowledges the finding of the United Kingdom Supreme Court that it is likely that the treatment to which you and the other Hooded Men were subjected to at the hands of the security forces, including some police officers, would be characterised today as torture.
We wish to acknowledge that the treatment you received was not acceptable at that time and is not acceptable by modern standards of policing.
We would like to convey an apology to you for the actions and omissions of police officers at that time.