NI Legacy Update – April 20

  • Posted on 12 May 2020
  • 03 min read

On 20 March 2020 as part of their measures to combat Corvid 19, the government directed courts to adjourn for all non-urgent business.  This included the Legacy Inquests which were subsequently adjourned until further notice.

Last week the Presiding Coroner for NI, Mrs Justice Keegan published an update on the situation.  The full statement can be read at
https://judiciaryni.uk/.

In brief, the following points were covered:

– The adjournment of legacy inquests was under constant review and it was the courts intention to restart whenever possible.

– Current activity outside court was limited due to the affects of Corvid 19 on the Legacy Investigation Unit, Disclosure providers and the age of the witnesses involved.

– All possible avenues to speedily reopen the inquests were being investigated as the situation evolves, this includes use of written submissions and remote working practices such as VTC.

– However, all 10 cases for Year 1 of the 5 Year plan had been allocated to coroners, but the plan to allocated cases for the 2nd Year (21/22) had been put on hold for the time being.

What does this mean for our veterans?

Investigations have been ‘paused’ for the initial period of lockdown and given the age of witnesses, this ‘pause’ could last for sometime.  However, there is no change to the intention of the courts to reconvene as soon as the situation allows.

Please let RHQ know if you are contacted by anyone in regards to legacy investigations so that we can provide assistance, not only to you, but also to others caught up in these difficult and stressful inquires.

RHQ staff are working from home so contact details for legacy matters are as follows:  Letters addressed to: NI Legacy Officer, RHQ PARA, Merville Barracks, Colchester CO2 7UT. Telephone communications to: 07967492254 or email to: paul.rodgers694@bc.mod.gov.uk

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