Belfast Telegraph

Anonymity over fatal shooting case questioned

By Alan Erwin

Granting anonymity to officers at an inquest into the death of a man shot dead by police as he drove a stolen car is "futile", the High Court has heard.

A judge was told the family of Steven Colwell already know the names of PSNI members at the scene of the fatal shooting in Ballynahinch, Co Down 11 years ago.

Mr Colwell, a 23-year-old father of one, was killed after failing to stop at a checkpoint in April 2006.

A Police Ombudsman investigation concluded that the actions of the officer who fired the fatal shot were critically flawed.

As the inquest into Mr Colwell's death opened in Belfast, that officer was granted anonymity. But judicial review proceedings were launched by two PSNI colleagues over decisions about their identities at the tribunal.

However, Mrs Justice Keegan was told the Colwell family know each of the officers' names.

Stephen Ritchie, appearing for the applicants, said: "If the names they have is correct (the anonymity) is now worthless."

The legal challenges by the two officers were adjourned after the development. The coroner overseeing proceedings is now expected to re-examine his decisions on anonymity in the case.

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