Campaigner Raymond McCord takes legal action against PSNI over inquest delay

Raymond McCord
Raymond McCord

A victims campaigner is taking legal action against the PSNI over delays in an inquest into the loyalist killing of his son 20 years ago.

Raymond McCord claims the failure to provide the coroner with non-sensitive material from the murder investigation has unlawfully contributed to the hold-up.

He is seeking a declaration that police are breaching his human rights and an order for disclosure of documents relating to the death of his son, Raymond Jnr.

Judicial review papers lodged at the High Court in Belfast today also include a claim for damages.

Raymond McCord Jnr, 22, was beaten to death before his body was dumped in a quarry on the northern outskirts of the city in November 1997.

A notorious UVF gang based in the Mount Vernon area of north Belfast carried out the murder.

Despite a series of preliminary hearings, an inquest into his death has yet to get underway.

Delays have been linked to an ongoing criminal case against an assisting offender now providing state’s evidence on a range of offences by the paramilitary unit.

Those proceedings are understood to relate to 44-year-old Gary Haggarty, the former UVF commander turned supergrass who is awaiting trial for a catalogue of terror offences.

But Mr McCord’s legal team believe the inquest should not have to wait any longer.

They want an urgent hearing of their case in a bid to secure an order compelling the Chief Constable to provide disclosure of the investigation material.

According to their case the ongoing situation is incompatible with Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, and breaches the victims campaigner’s entitlement to a fair and prompt hearing.

Solicitor Ciaran O’Hare, of McIvor Farrell law firm, said: “This is a very important action given that almost 20 years have passed and, to date, no disclosure has been forthcoming from the PSNI.

“My client feels highly distressed and frustrated by the ongoing delay.”