Wait of 13 years for UDA murder victim’s inquest ‘unlawful’, claims father

Postal worker Daniel McColgan who was shot dead at Newtownabbey postal sorting office in the early hours of this morning. Daniel is pictured here with his girlfriend Lyndsey Milliken.
Postal worker Daniel McColgan who was shot dead at Newtownabbey postal sorting office in the early hours of this morning. Daniel is pictured here with his girlfriend Lyndsey Milliken.

The father of a Catholic postman murdered by loyalist paramilitaries is taking legal action over alleged delays in holding the inquest.

Daniel McColgan was gunned down by the UDA/UFF as he arrived for work at a sorting office on the outskirts of Belfast in January 2002.

In October last year a coroner found the shooting had been a completely sectarian attack on a 20-year-victim deliberately targeted because of his religion.

But the murdered man’s father, Samuel McColgan, claims the 13-year period between the killing and conclusion of the tribunal represents an unlawful delay.

High Court proceedings alleging a breach of human rights have been brought against the coroner, the Chief Constable and the Department of Justice.

Mr McColgan is also seeking an award of damages.

No one has ever been convicted for the murder of his son at the depot in Rathcoole, Newtownabbey – a predominantly loyalist area.

A CCTV camera positioned at the entrance gate to the sorting office was inoperative at the time of the attack.

According to the coroner the equipment had the potential to capture and record at least some of the events around the shooting.

He identified a gross failure to ensure the camera was functioning as intended.

Following his findings Mr McColgan instructed his legal team to challenge the length of time it took to hold an inquest into his son’s killing.

They allege the state failed to ensure a prompt investigation in line with obligations under European and domestic law.

Part of the case also centres the period taken by police to provide disclosure.

Lawyers for the victim’s father are seeking a declaration that the delay was incompatible with his rights under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

They also want damages and costs of bringing the application for judicial review.

In court today arguments centred on whether the claim for compensation should instead be made through a separate writ.

The judge then adjourned for three weeks to allow further evidence to be filed.

Following the hearing Mr McColgan’s solicitor, Fearghal Shiels of Madden and Finucane, said: “We contend that our client’s rights in both domestic and European law have been breached by the unlawful delay of 13 years in completing Daniel’s inquest and that it is appropriate that this court reflects that with an award of damages.”