Families of shoot-to-kill victims could be denied representation at a long-delayed inquest because of a hold-up over fees, a pre-hearing heard today [Friday].
Barrister Karen Quinlivan said: “It is not reasonable, I have to say, that coronial hearings should go ahead where the next of kin don’t have proper representation.”
Coroner John Leckey said he raised the matter with the Legal Services Commission. He said he thought six weeks’ notice given of Friday’s hearing would have allowed time for fees to be resolved, but a ‘wrangle’ has delayed the matter.
The inquest heard that a computer simulation could help gain fresh clues about the killings.
Mr Leckey is seeking the reconstruction of the ambush of two republicans by the RUC police near Armagh almost 30 years ago.
He also wants a recreation of the death of a Catholic teenager murdered at a hay shed by the RUC. He told the Belfast inquest pre-hearing he had already contacted a firearms expert about the matter.
The British government has always denied that any policy of deliberate state killings exists and has resisted calls from families to look again at what happened in 1982.
Over the years, a number of inquiries have been held into the matter but these have been largely censored or suspended under British ministerial orders.
Mr Leckey plans inquests into the deaths of teenager Michael Tighe, shot dead by the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) at a hay shed near Craigavon, County Armagh, in November 1982, and Roddy Carroll and Seamus Grew, shot dead near Armagh in December 1982.
Friday’s inquest also heard from a barrister for those killed that Martin McCauley, who lives in the 26 Counties and was shot at the time as killed, was willing to co-operate with the hearing.