THE GOOD SAMARITAN BOMBING: CHALLENGE TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL TO ORDER A NEW INQUEST
The family of Eugene Dalton, killed in what has become known as The Good Samaritan Bombing in Derry in 1987, have applied to challenge a decision of the Attorney General for Northern Ireland not to order a new inquest into his death.
Today the High Court in Belfast heard further arguments from both sides as to whether this challenge to the decision of the Attorney General should be allowed and that his decision be set aside and to order that a new decision is issued. Judgment was reserved but if allowed could cause problems for the Attorney General who has steadfastly taken a very negative view of this sort of application to order new inquests in the majority of applications before him. This is a result, we have argued, of his misinterpretation of human rights law and a recent judgment in the UK Supreme Court.
KRW LAW LLP is instructed by the family of Eugene Dalton and many others families of victims killed during the Conflict who have made applications to the Attorney General to exercise his power to order new inquests either because of the inadequacies of the original inquest or because of new evidence or the failing of other mechanisms of investigation such as PONI or the defunct PSNI HET. The inquest process is an important element of the mechanisms to achieve justice, truth and accountability for the human violations suffered during the Conflict.
The Attorney General has steadfastly declined to exercise this power in many such applications before him. His arguments are – we have argued –not sustainable in terms of UK and European human rights law. Now his arguments have been tested in court and we await a decision of Mr Justice Maguire in this matter.
Should the judiciary find that the Attorney General has exercised his powers wrongly then he will be forced to re-examine all the applications for new inquests.
This would include that into the death of Eugene Dalton whose murder, we argue, was not properly investigated at the time, could have been prevented because of what was known by the British Security Forces and the RUC about the bomb – a PONI investigation into a complaint made by the family of Eugene Dalton was hampered by the failure of former retired RUC officers to assist in that investigation which lead to separate legal proceedings.
In the absence of a human rights compliant mechanism of investigation into all Conflict related deaths and injuries, families such as that of Eugene Dalton are forced to battle for truth, justice and accountability through the courts.
Contact: Anurag Deb
KRW LAW LLP
Third Floor, The Sturgen Building
Tel: 028 9024 1888
Fax: 028 9024 4804