Belfast Telegraph

Friday 31 October 2014

Lawyers' plea on blanked out names

Martina Dillon, wife of murdered hotel doorman Seamus Dillon, leaving a preliminary inquest into his death

Confusion over the blanking out of names in police files must be resolved before they can be passed to the family of a hotel doorman and former IRA prisoner who was murdered by loyalists, a coroner's court has heard.

Seamus Dillon, 45, was shot dead outside the Glengannon Hotel in Dungannon by two LVF gunmen in December 1997.

The murder of the father-of-three from Stewartstown, Co Tyrone, happened just hours after LVF leader Billy Wright was shot dead inside the Maze prison and was seen as a revenge strike by the loyalist's associates.

Mr Dillon's family has expressed frustration at the length of time it has taken to hold an inquest into his death.

At a preliminary hearing in Belfast, relatives were informed of a fresh glitch in the file disclosure process, which is required before the full inquest is held.

Police files relating to the case must be passed to the family's lawyers, but before that happens certain names need to be covered up for security purposes.

Lawyer for the coroner's office Fiona Doherty said she had read the files and had noted that no code or cipher - such as witness A or B - had been attributed to the blanked out names.

She explained that this made it difficult to establish whether separate concealed names referred to the same person or different people.

Northern Ireland's senior coroner John Leckey agreed: "You need to know whether witness A in bundle A is also witness A in bundle B."

A lawyer for the police said that process would now be undertaken.

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