The families of two IRA men shot dead by the SAS were denied access to inquest information that one of the soldiers also opened fire in another four killings, a court has been told.
Judges were further told an officer commanding the unit involved in the deaths of Martin McCaughey and Dessie Grew was linked to an “extensive number” of other lethal force incidents.
Details emerged as an appeal against a failed legal bid to have the inquest verdicts quashed was put on hold.McCaughey and Grew died when an SAS unit opened fire at farm buildings near Loughgall, Co Armagh in October 1990.
Although both men were armed, neither fired any shots, provoking claims that soldiers could have arrested them. But in May 2012, an inquest jury held the soldiers had used reasonable force.
Lawyers for McCaughey’s sister, Sally Gribben, are continuing to challenge the ruling. They claim the inquest did not comply with Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, with two grounds advanced:
The failure to disclose to next-of-kin the SAS unit members’ roles in other lethal force incidents, and the consequent inability to deploy that information at the inquest.
The failure to secure the re-attendance of Soldier A to answer questions about suspected links to the fatal shooting of Francis Bradley near Toomebridge in 1986.Earlier this year, a High Court judge dismissed Ms Gribben’s application for a judicial review. He rejected claims that the tribunal was rendered ineffective by the non-disclosure of soldiers’ links to other lethal force incidents.Ms Gribben’s legal team are now appealing the verdict in a further attempt to secure a fresh inquest.
“They argue that disclosing details of the SAS members’ links was central to establishing whether an alleged shoot-to-kill policy was in operation.
The appeal hearing was adjourned to allow further legal arguments on whether the judges should examine the material that the coroner assessed on the disclosure issue.
Listing the case for a further hearing next month, Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan stressed it would be given priority if necessary.
He emphasised: “This appeal needs to get on.”