Colin Worton: Ex-UDR Man Cleared Of Murder Loses Compensation Bid



Colin Worton: Ex-UDR man cleared of murder loses compensation bid

A former Ulster Defence Regiment soldier, acquitted of the murder of a Catholic man 40 years ago, has lost his court challenge for compensation.

Colin Worton, 62, claimed that former Justice Minister, Naomi Long, had unlawfully refused to re-examine at his application for a pay-out.

But a judge ruled that Ms Long’s decision was “reasonable and lawful”.

Mr Worton could not establish an arguable case with a realistic prospect of success, he said.

He spent 30 months on remand over the murder of Adrian Carroll in Armagh in November 1983.

“The only grounds on which the application could be reconsidered would be if significant new information came to light which completely exonerated the applicant or which proved there was serious default on the part of the police,” Mr Justice Rooney told the High Court on Monday.

“The minister’s decision is plainly reasonable and lawful. It was not a redetermination.”

Mr Worton’s application for a judicial review was therefore refused.


Four other former members of the UDR went on to stand trial for Mr Carroll’s murder.

They were known as the “UDR Four” and were found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Three of them later had their convictions quashed on appeal after judges found interview notes had been altered.

The fourth, Neil Latimer, was released under the Good Friday Agreement.

The men who were cleared received compensation under a discretionary scheme overseen by the secretary of state for Northern Ireland at the time. But Mr Worton did not receive any payment.

He was acquitted before the trial began in 1986 after a judge ruled that a statement that was the only evidence against him was inadmissible.

Despite this, Mr Worton has been repeatedly denied government compensation.

In 2010, a High Court judge dismissed his previous challenge to a secretary of state’s decision not to award any sum under an ex-gratia scheme.

‘Stark error of law’

Six years later, then Justice Minister, David Ford, expressed sympathy with the former soldier but said that he had exhausted all legal remedies.

Mr Worton brought a fresh judicial review challenge over how his eligibility for the compensation scheme was handled in 2021 during Naomi Long’s term in office.

Counsel for the ex-soldier argued that it was a “stark error of law” for Mrs Long to state that she had no power to reconsider his application.

The court was told that the issue had “blighted his life for 40 years”.

In court on Monday, Mr Justice Rooney said: “The minister re-affirmed that, on the basis of documentation provided by the applicant, no new information came to light which justified a reconsideration of the application under the ex-gratia scheme.”

Source – BBC News



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