The Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT) officially closes today, 30 June 2017.
This follows the decision in February to bring IHAT to an end by the summer, enabled by the striking off of Mr Phil Shiner.
The remaining cases, expected to number around 20, will now be dealt with by the Service Police – a combination of Royal Navy Police and Royal Air Force Police, led by a senior Royal Navy.
Hilary Meredith, Chair of Hilary Meredith Solicitors, was instructed by clients subject to judicial process and investigations to consider bringing a Judicial Review against the MoD.
Hilary also provided evidence at the Defence Sub Committee’s inquiry into the support offered by the MoD to former and serving military personnel who are subject to judicial process. At the Inquiry, MPs heard how investigators from IHAT were turning up on family doorsteps and at barracks’ gates demanding information or threatening arrest.
In one harrowing incident they appeared at an ex-girlfriend’s house and interviewed her on whether her former partner had tattoos, was abusive or talked in his sleep. In another, they turned up at a barracks and threatened to arrest an officer despite the fact he was acquitted by an internal probe 10 years earlier. Even witnesses were threatened with arrest, as the probe into alleged Iraq War wrongdoing got completely out of hand.
Commenting on IHAT’s closure, Hilary Meredith said:
“The closure of IHAT today will come as a bitter sweet relief to those I represent.
“Closure has come at a price – not only the cost to the taxpayer but the shattered lives, careers, marriages and health of those falsely accused over many years.
“In extreme cases, soldiers who left military service many years ago, and had settled into civilian life were subjected to bully-boy tactics by investigators posing as detectives and falsely accused of unlawful killing.
“The MoD are must take their shame of the blame. They allowed this situation to develop by paying a lawyer who we now know was fraudulent, and has since been struck off, to gather evidence against our own service personnel.”
“The MoD must stand up and take responsibility for the consequences of their actions. It has taken a parliamentary Inquiry and threat of a Judicial Review to force the closure of IHAT. Although there is now a partial framework of support in place it does not go far enough and our veterans continue to be cast adrift.
“I am taking my clients instructions on any action they may wish to take.”