In a media interview, following today’s Court of Appeal judgment in Jordan in which the Lord Chief Justice (LCJ), Sir Declan Morgan, made additional commentary on legacy inquests more generally citing the need for a possible rethink of a wider inquiry process, RFJ’s Director, Mark Thompson, told the BBC;
“The comments of the LCJ are interesting observations. Previously coroners have made similar comments on the need for a wider inquiry based process. The comments are worthy of wider debate.
“The Coronial system is facing massive resistance from within sections of the PSNI, intelligence agencies, and government who do not want any scrutiny of past actions by the ‘security forces’.
“This problem manifests itself within inquests where families witness prevarication, obfuscation, delaying tactics and the destruction of evidence.
“Moving these cases to another forum, whilst interesting, would in our view face the very same problems.
“We believe that the Coronial system should be adequately resourced from London and allowed to get on with the task of conducting inquests without the counter strategy of disruption.
“If allowed to function without interference inquests are the only open and transparent forum for families to participate in in establishing the facts about the killings of their loved ones.
“Today’s judgment does not take into consideration the deliberate under resourcing of inquests as a counter tactic.
“In terms of comments in the judgment about the parties to the Executive having responsibility in legislating for a different way forward families also note political resistance with the rejection of Eames/Bradley and Haass/O’Sullivan.
“The problem does not lie with the families seeking accountability – its rests firmly with those who have a legal responsibility to provide effective examination and investigation of killings and who seek to frustrate current mechanisms such as inquests.” ENDS
The full judgment by the Court of Appeal can be found by clicking here: Pearse Jordan Court of Appeal 17 Nov 14
Editors Notes: A copy of the Jordan judgment is available on the RFJ website. Pearse Jordan was shot dead by an RUC covert team on the Falls Rd, Belfast, November 1992. The car in which he was driving was rammed from behind by an RUC vehicle and hemmed in by another RUC vehicle. As Pearse exited his car, dazed and confused, he was shot and killed. The RUC claimed the car he was driving contained a bomb and that he was armed. Both these claims were false. Today’s judgment was about holding a fresh inquest into this killing, which was granted. The Coroner had quashed a previous decision by a jury and ordered a fresh inquest. The PSNI were attempting to have this matter overturned in an appeal. The additional comments by the LCJ are in relation to the inquest system overall.
RFJ have supported the Jordan family for this past two decades in which there have been in the region of 200 legal hearings and battles related to 24 judicial reviews; 14 appeals to the Court of Appeal; two hearings at the House of Lords/Supreme Court; and one hearing before the ECtHR, as they seek truth and accountability for the killing of Pearse.