Northern Ireland news

Operation Kenova investigations to continue despite Covid-19

Operation Kenova chief Jon Boutcher
Connla Young

OPERATION Kenova chief Jon Boutcher has said he will engage with Secretary of State Brandon Lewis after confirming his team will continue to investigate legacy cases despite the Covid-19 health emergency.

Operation Kenova is currently involved in several high profile investigations, including examining the role of the British agent known as Stakeknife and the activities of the loyalist Glenanne Gang.

Both the police ombudsman and PSNI Legacy Investigations Branch have suspended probes into the past since the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis.

However, Mr Boutcher last night confirmed that in anticipation of movement restrictions, Operation Kenova arranged for a “considerable amount of material” to be moved from Northern Ireland to his offices in London.

He said that almost all of his staff were working remotely and will be reviewing documents and “huge amounts of other material that we have recently acquired”.

In a short video to relatives Mr Boutcher said he will also be "engaging" Mr Lewis days after the Tory MP said only Troubles killings with "compelling" new evidence and a realistic prospect of prosecution will receive a full police investigation.

“I'll be engaging with the secretary of state and the permanent secretary explaining how Operation Kenova is operated and the success we have had in getting material to understand what has happened with regard to these cases...," Mr Boutcher said.

“But we've got material to give us an understanding that others never had and any investigation is only as good as the information it has access to.

“If you don't have access to the information it won't be what we would describe as an article two compliant investigation, ie, effective, independent and efficient.”

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