Three police files containing potentially key information on the murder of a dissident republican are set to be heavily censored before being made available to his inquest, a coroner has been told.
Real IRA man Kieran Doherty, 31, was shot dead in February 2010 and his body dumped at Braehead Road near Derry.
The Real IRA claimed responsibility for the killing of one of its own members, but nobody has ever been charged with the murder.
In the weeks before his death, Mr Doherty claimed MI5 attempted to recruit him as an agent and his family have raised concerns the UK Security Services could have played a role in his death.
Police are in the process of security vetting their murder investigation files before making them available to lawyers representing the family at a planned future inquest.
A preliminary hearing at Belfast Coroner’s Court was told that while progress has been made on five of eight main police folders, significant issues remain outstanding on the other three files.
Peter Coll, representing the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), told coroner Brian Sherrard he was not sure how useful the files would be to the Doherty family’s legal team due the extent of redactions proposed.
He said the volume of material blanked out would be “quite extensive”. He said the redactions were required to make the disclosure compliant with the UK’s obligation to protect life and privacy under the European Convention on Human Rights.
In the wake of the murder, and in response to the family’s concerns about MI5 involvement, the UK’s then independent reviewer of the Security Services, Lord Carlile, examined the circumstances of the shooting.
While he concluded there was no inappropriate action by MI5, the full contents of his report has been classified on national security grounds.
As well as being denied access to that report, the Doherty family have not yet been given sight of any police documents set to factor in the inquest. Members of the family attended Thursday’s hearing at Laganside courts.
Their barrister, Fiona Doherty QC, said she could not make a judgement on what issues the future inquest should focus on until she saw the papers.
“I’m very much a bystander at this stage,” she told Mr Sherrard.
The coroner requested that the PSNI finish the disclosure of the five files in January and, in the same month, update the court on the process of redacting the other three files.