Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 31 August 2014

Doubt over murdered postman inquest

Danny McColgan's family are seeking a judicial review of a funding decision by Justice Minister David Ford, a hearing at Mays Chambers heard

Doubt has been cast over the future of an inquest into a Belfast postman who was murdered more than 10 years ago, a court heard.

Catholic Danny McColgan, 20, was shot dead by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) as he arrived for work at a sorting office in the loyalist Rathcoole estate in January 2002.

A preliminary hearing in Mays Chambers, Belfast, heard that his family are seeking a judicial review of a funding decision by Justice Minister David Ford which could prevent their legal team reading all of the relevant inquest papers.

"It is a fundamental issue," barrister Fiona Doherty told the court.

An application for Legal Aid to fund the High Court challenge has been submitted and is awaiting approval by the Legal Services Commission.

Coroner John Leckey told the brief hearing he was not prepared to start the inquest until all parties had knowledge of all the relevant papers.

"I agree it is a fundamental issue. It is fundamental that the team reads all the papers. The urgency of this should be stressed.

"If this inquest cannot proceed in October, I cannot see when it would be held knowing what is in front of me for the next year," said Mr Leckey.

Nobody has been convicted of the killing of the postman, from the Longlands estate in Newtownabbey.

Initially the UDA used the cover name of the Red Hand Commando but later the loyalist paramilitary organisation admitted it carried out the shooting.

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