Former Attorney General Lord Havers Dead at 69
LONDON (AP) _ Lord Michael Havers, who served briefly as England’s top legal official and prosecuted two controversial IRA bombing cases, died Wednesday in London. He was 69.
His son, the actor Nigel Havers, said his father was working in his office when he became ill, and died later in the day at a hospital.
Havers underwent heart bypass surgery in 1985 and in 1987 retired after only four months as lord chancellor, the highest legal officer in England and Wales, presiding over the unelected House of Lords.
Prime Minister John Major, speaking at a political rally in western England, said Havers was ″a very great law officer.″
Havers became attorney general in 1979 and held the post for eight years. He was made a peer and appointed lord chancellor in 1987 by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Havers was elected to the House of Commons in 1970, representing Wimbledon. Two years later former Prime Minister Edward Heath named him solicitor general.
Perhaps his most famous prosecution was that of the three men and one woman known as the Guildford Four. They were released in October 1989 after 15 years in prison when the Court of Appeal found they had been wrongly convicted of pub bombings that killed five people in Guildford, south of London.
Havers also prosecuted the Maguire Seven, who were found last June to have been wrongly convicted of running an IRA bomb-making factory.
He was criticized for allegedly withholding evidence in the two cases.
Havers was also a successful playwright. His play ″The Royal Baccarat Scandal″ enjoyed a long run in the West End.
His sister, Dame Elizabeth Butler-Shloss, is a High Court judge.
He also leaves a widow, Lady Carol, and sons Nigel and Philip.