An Orangeman injured during an attack on a Twelfth of July parade has been given the go-ahead to sue police for allegedly failing to intervene. Kevin Magill was struck when protestors in the Short Strand area of east Belfast threw missiles at his lodge in 2013. He sustained a crushing-type injury to his foot inflicted by a heavy object.
Mr Magill brought a negligence claim against the PSNI, alleging failures by officers to prevent the attack and to step in after disorder erupted. With the case involving an assessment of any duty of care owed to marchers, lawyers for the Chief Constable argued that it should be struck out for having no reasonable cause of action. But the Court of Appeal upheld a previous determination that the lawsuit should be allowed to continue. Dismissing the Chief Constable’s challenge, Lord Justice McCloskey described it as “a finely balanced case”. He stressed: “This decision… betokens no forecast of ultimate success for the plaintiff.” The court heard marchers were brought to halt on the Newtownards Road during the return leg of the Orange Order parade. Mr Magill’s lodge became hemmed in at an interface area close to the nationalist Short Strand area, with protestors throwing missiles over a peace-wall cordon. According to the statement of claim, PSNI officers at the scene sought shelter by standing behind their Land Rovers and in an area covered by trees. “During the attack the police took no steps to prevent the ongoing attack,” it was alleged. Despite identifying some issues with how the case was originally pleaded, Lord Justice McCloskey held that it should be allowed to advance beyond the preliminary stage. He confirmed: “The plaintiff’s case by a narrow margin overcomes the applicable threshold.”
Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know.