Derry Cases Amongst ‘Troubles’ Legacy Hearings At Belfast Court

Ahead of two hearings into British Army killings in Derry in the 1970s Eamon Sweeney ( speaks to some of the relatives of the dead and their legal team for the Derry Journal.

Danny Bradley, brother of Seamus Bradley.
  • The hearings will take place in Belfast on January 19
  • Twenty-two of the 54 outstanding cases are over 40 years old 
  • Lord Justice Weir will assess the readiness of the cases
Preliminary hearing’s relating to the killing of two young men in Derry in 1972 are due to be heard at court in Belfast later this month.
15-year-old Manus Deery was shot dead by the British Army in the Bogside May, 1972 whilst 19-year-old Seamus Bradley was killed during Operation Motorman in Creggan in July of that year.  

Richard Campbell, solicitor for both the Bradley and Deery families says that both hearings will take place at Laganside Court on January 19 when the process of establishing fresh inquests into ‘Troubles’ related deaths will begin. 
Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan has assumed the role of President of the Coroner’s Court and has appointed Lord Justice Weir to oversee 54 outstanding legacy cases. Justice Weir will have responsibility of scrutinising each case in order to assess their readiness to proceed. Just nine legacy cases have been finalised in the last decade and of the 54 outstanding cases, 22 are now in excess of 40-years-old. These include the cases of Manus Deery and Seamus Bradley. 
Richard Campbell said:
This will begin to determine which cases are deemed to be ready to proceed and then the process of prioritising them will begin. It will also then be decided for example of they are to heard in chronological order and so on.
Daniel Bradley, brother of Seamus Bradley said:
What I am hoping will happen is that the Ministry of Defence will now hand over all relevant evidence so this can go ahead. I want assurances too that these cases will have juries and will not be determined by a judge. My brother’s case is too serious to go ahead without having a jury in place.
Helen Deery, the sister of Manus Deery
Helen Deery, sister of Manus Deery had a date set for a new inquest in April last year. However, when it became apparent there was an attempt to make it a non-jury hearing she refused to let it go ahead.
Since then the process has been stalled through the lack of availability of a coroner. Now, she finds herself in the position of having to repeat the process on January 19.
I have not changed my position on this. I want a normal inquest, with a jury in place she said and the overturning of the open verdict given at the original inquest in 1973. All the witnesses in the case had been summonsed and were ready to go.
I have been given no explanation from the authorities as to why I have to attend another preliminary hearing when we already had Derry Courthouse booked between April 13-22 last year. 
The funeral 19-year-old IRA man Seamus Bradley who was shot dead during Operation Motorman in 1972. Picture courtesy of Victor Patterson.

15-year-old Manus Deery was shot dead by the British Army in May, 1972.

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Anthony McIntyre

Former IRA prisoner, spent 18 years in Long Kesh. Free Speech advocate, writer, historian, humanist, and researcher.

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