1700 documents ‘need to be assessed’ for dissident republican inquest

Real IRA murder victim Kieran Doherty.
Real IRA murder victim Kieran Doherty.

More than 1,700 documents have to be assessed before the inquest into the death of a dissident republican in Northern Ireland, a lawyer told a preliminary hearing.

Kieran Doherty, 31, was shot dead in February 2010 and his body dumped on the outskirts of Derry. The Real IRA claimed responsibility for the killing of one of its own members but nobody has been charged with the murder.

Around 65 folders of evidence are under consideration and it will be next summer before work is completed on some of the voluminous paperwork, a Belfast coroner’s court heard.

An investigation into claims MI5 was involved in the killing has been partly withheld from Mr Doherty’s family on national security grounds and legal representatives complained about lack of progress in holding an inquest.

Peter Coll QC, barrister for the PSNI, said: “There are further underlying materials, for example a further 1,700 documents of varying different lengths which have to be assessed. There are other materials still to be addressed.

“Police anticipate that that process may take to approximately June of next year to be completed.”

Mr Doherty, from the Brandywell area of Derry, was murdered and his body dumped on Braehead Road on the outskirts of the city on February 24 2010.

He had been stripped, tied up and shot twice in the head.

The father-of-one had been due to get married three months later.

Although Mr Doherty was a member of the Real IRA, it was the Real IRA that said it was responsible for his murder.

Fiona Doherty QC, barrister for the Doherty family, said there had been little progress on holding the inquest during the last year.

She added the case was relatively modern compared to many legacy matters and it should be a priority to resolve it within a reasonable period.

“There does not appear to have been any real movement since around this time last year.”

Mr Coll said nine folders of material had already been prepared and would be available soon. Those surround 1,800 “actions” by police as part of their investigation into Mr Doherty’s murder as well as 247 statements.