Joe McCann inquest granted but unlikely to take place

Joe McCann inquest granted but unlikely to take place

The Attorney General for Northern Ireland has ordered a fresh inquest into the killing of Official IRA man Joe McCann, which is unlikely to take place due to the UK government’s controversial new legacy law.

Mr McCann was shot and killed at the age of 24 in the Markets area of Belfast on 15 April 1972. Two former British soldiers were accused of murdering him but acquitted in 2021 after their trial collapsed when key evidence was ruled inadmissible.

Attorney General Dame Brenda King said a fresh inquest “would not be inhibited from considering the soldiers’ written statements” — the key issue in the collapse of the criminal trial — “and could potentially receive oral evidence from military and other witnesses”.

However, despite her decision, an inquest is unlikely to take place as the Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Act 2023 will come into force from the start of May, ending all investigations, inquests and civil lawsuits related to the Troubles.

KRW LAW solicitor Gary Duffy, representing the McCann family, told BBC News NI: “There’s a real sense of poignancy to this news, coming as it does within days of the government’s shut down on all legacy legal processes.

“It debunks the state-propagated myth that conflict‐related cases can’t be dealt with properly.”

Certain aspects of the Legacy Act have been ruled unlawful by Northern Ireland’s High Court and are the subject of an inter-state case brought by Ireland against the UK at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). The UK government has stood by the law.

Share icon
Share this article: