Inquest dismissed as charade
By Michael McCracken
The official inquest into the murder of three Belfastmen by a
British undercover unit was dismissed by the relatives of the
three as a ``charade'' because of its restricted scope of
The relatives said the inquest, held on 1 September, was fatally
flawed because of its failure to query the suspicious
circumstances surrounding the deaths.
Relatives of the three men killed now say they will take their
case to the European Court of Human Rights.
Peter Thompson, John McNeill and Eddie Hale were shot by members
of the British military squad 14th Field Intelligence Unit at
Sean Graham's betting shop on the Falls Road in January 1990.
The Thompson family refused to attend on the basis that the
North's inquest system was ``massively restricted'', and thereby
unable and unwilling to examine controversial and disputed
The inquest system cannot compel the soldiers to attend, it
cannot return verdicts, prevents relevant information from being
disclosed and gives anonymity to those wishing to give evidence
whilst not directly involved in the killing.
The Thompson family stated that many facts in the case are public
knowledge, but these have yet to be satisfactorily dealt with in
court. ``To attend the inquest would only lend credibility to an
already discredited system. It would also be disrespectful to the
memory of our son and brother,'' said the family.