THE GUILDFORD PUB BOMBINGS 1974: NO LEGAL AID FOR INQUEST
KRW LAW LLP represent the family of Ann Hamilton, one of the victims of The Guildford Pub Bombings 1974. KRW also represent Yvonne Tagg, a survivor of the bombings. Ann Hamilton and Yvonne Tagg were both serving in the British Army.
Earlier this year, the Senior Coroner for Surrey order the original inquest into the bombings to be resumed. The original inquest had been suspended following the conviction of The Guildford Four.
There has been no prosecution of those responsible for the bombings to date and no independent human rights compliant investigation into the bombings.
Last week the Legal Aid Agency in London refused an application for legal aid made on behalf of the family of Ann Hamilton. This means that unless another mechanism of funding becomes available to the family or there is a way to challenge that decision, the family of Ann Hamilton will not have legal representation at the inquest into the her death.
The Senior Coroner for Surrey has instructed senior and junior counsel. The Surrey Police have instructed senior and junior counsel. The MOD and London Metropolitan Police have instructed junior counsel.
Once again, a family in England who suffered loss because of the Conflict in Northern Ireland, are denied legal support in this complex investigation, having been excluded from any prior inquiry since 1974.
You will recall the recent battle for legal aid that the families of the victims of The Birmingham Pub Bombings 1974 had to endure to secure legal representation in the recent Birmingham inquest, following four years of pro bonorepresentation by KRW and counsel on their behalf.
Christopher Stanley of KRW said
“Again, a family have been excluded from effectively participating into the inquest into the death of their loved one whilst the state agencies – the police, the MOD – have legal representation at tax payers expenses. This will be a long and complex process of investigation. We will make representations to both the Lord Chancellor and the Home Secretary but unless the matter of public funding can be resolved or reformed then the family of Ann Hamilton will not be able to engage with this process, which will be a further injustice.”
Kevin Winters of KRW said
“Our firm cannot sustain pro bonoassistance in this matter following our commitment to the Birmingham families. We have got to the stage of assisting the family of Ann Hamilton and Yvonne Tagg and through our representations we have secured the resumption of The Guildford Pub Bombings 1974 inquest. There is now a long process of disclosure of material and determining the scope of this investigation. Without our continued support our clients will not be able to engage in this process and will be, once again effectively excluded.”
Kevin Winters continued:
“We are also aware of the importance of The Guildford Pub Bombing 1974 inquest to the remaining members of The Guildford Four and their families, including our client Bridie Brennan, the niece of Gerry Conlon. The inquest will be a travesty without enabling all victims to effectively participate with the benefit of effective and independent legal representation”.