‘It was a clear attack on the freedom of the press’

‘It was a clear attack on the freedom of the press’

20 January 2021

THE unlawful arrest of two journalists who made a hard-hitting film about the Loughinisland massacre is to be made into a television documentary.

The subject of Barry McCaffrey and Trevor Birney’s documentary — No Stone Unturned — was the UVF murder of six men as they watched the a World Cup soccer match in a bar in the village in June 1994.

It has been revealed that the new drama will be a collaboration between Wild Nest Pictures, which is the production company of Grantchester actor Tom Brittney, and Mr Birney’s Fine Point Films.

The Emmy nominated No Stone Unturned documentary looked at the police investigation into the massacre and revealed the identity of suspects. 

The journalists were arrested and their homes and office searched on August 31, 2018, over the alleged theft of a police ombudsman 

document. The PSNI called in Durham Constabulary to help with the investigation.

In May 2019 the journalists won a challenge to the legality of search warrants with the High Court ruling that authorisation for the searches fell “woefully short” of fair standards and that Mr Birney and Mr McCaffrey had at all times acted as investigative reporters adhering to their professional code by protecting sources.

Last December, PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne apologised to both journalists with the organisation agreeing to pay £875,000 in damages to them and Fine Point Films. It has been estimated that the final bill for the PSNI action could top £3m.

Actor Tom Brittney described the journalists’ arrests as “a clear attack on the freedom of the press” and said the men’s story “would make a thrilling and necessary drama”. 

He said: “I met Trevor and Barry while they were on bail and thought their story was incredible. It was such a clear attack on the freedom of the press and showed the lengths our own government was capable of going to to stop any investigation into their actions.

“I knew immediately that their story would make a thrilling and necessary drama in the same vein as Spotlight or Dark Waters”.

Trevor Birney said Fine Point Films was “very excited” to be working with Wild Nest Pictures.

He added: “Barry and I first met Tom at an Amnesty International event and since then we’ve been very impressed with his passion and vision. This is a very personal story but we’ve found the right partner to tell it.”

The six men killed in the Loughinisland murders were Adrian Rogan, Barney Green, Dan McCreanor, Eamon Byrne, Malcolm Jenkinson and Patsy O’Hare.