Legacy of the Troubles: Appeal to Chief Justice to appoint a coroner

Operation Motorman, took place in derry on July 31, 1972.
Operation Motorman, took place in derry on July 31, 1972.

The brother of a teenager shot dead by the British army in Derry 43 years ago has appealed to the North’s Lord Chief Justice to appoint a coroner.

IRA man Seamus Bradley was killed during Operation Motorman on July 31, 1972. recent new photographic evidence highlighted by the ‘Journal’ last month adds strength to the Bradley family allegations that the victim was tortured after being shot. Whilst Coroner John Larkin ordered a new inquest into Seamus Bradley’s death some years ago, a date for the new hearing has not been set. Delays in getting a fresh date have been hampered by the current lack of a coroner in the North due to retirements and a long-term leave of absence for another. Now, Seamus Bradley’s brother Danny has appealed to the Lord Chief Justice to appoint someone into the position to halt delays in the legal process.

A letter sent to Danny Bradley via his solicitor confirms that under Section 6 (2) of the Coroners Act Northern Ireland (1959) the Lord Chief Justice can “direct a suitably qualified person to act as a coroner where the coroner in question is unable to discharge his duties.” The letter from the Chief Justices’ office dated, September 9, 2015 also states the Lord Chief Justice “would be willing to consider this power if requested.”

Changes to legal system here will see the Lord Chief Justice assume the role of President of the Coroners Court, but in the interim Danny Bradley has requested that Section 6 of the 1959 Act is invoked in order to halt further delay.