Claudy and Bloody Sunday files held by PSNI due to ‘ongoing investigations’

The PSNI has refused to release information relating to the Claudy and Bloody Sunday atrocities for fear of affecting ongoing criminal investigations.

That’s despite confirmation by the PSNI in October 2013 that the investigation of the Claudy bombings was no longer ongoing and had been suspended due to a lack of evidence.

One fresh FOI request has asked if the PSNI has “held any meetings with the Roman Catholic Church in relation to or explicitly referring to the Claudy bomb incident.”

A report into Claudy, published in 2010, concluded discussions took place between the state and Church authorities in 1972 and 1973 over unproven allegations that a priest, Father James Chesney, was involved.

The request also asked if the PSNI had “received or initiated any communication with the British Government, any Government official and/or the Secretary of State or anyone connected to or part of her department in relation to the Claudy bomb investigation.

“The investigation into the Claudy Bombing is still open and ongoing and therefore the PSNI consider the release of any information which would identify whether this investigation had been linked to a previous incident would hinder the current investigation.

“Such a release could also undermine the right to a fair trial should any person be subsequently charged with any offence connected to this enquiry,” the PSNI stated.

Meanwhile, a FOI request for a “copy of all forensic ballistics recovered from the dead and injured” on Bloody Sunday was also refused.

“While there is a strong public interest in releasing the information requested the PSNI must ensure that an ongoing investigation is not adversely affected by the release of information,” the PSNI stated. A new PSNI witness appeal, launched on the 42nd anniversary of the outrage, drew a poor response.