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Coroners Court has new judge at the helm

By Lesley-Anne McKeown

Published 09/02/2016

Mr Justice Adrian Colton has been appointed presiding coroner
Mr Justice Adrian Colton has been appointed presiding coroner

This is the High Court judge taking over the Coroners Court as the system struggles with a huge backlog that includes 56 legacy cases from the Troubles.

Mr Justice Adrian Colton's in-tray includes some of the most controversial killings - the shooting dead of 10 people in Ballymurphy by the Army in 1971; the murder of 10 Protestant workmen at Kingsmills in 1976, and the security forces' alleged "shoot to kill" deaths in the 1980s. Only 13 Troubles-related inquests have been heard in the last decade.

Mr Justice Colton takes over as presiding coroner from Lord Justice Weir, who temporarily stepped in when senior coroner John Leckey retired last year.

The review of Troubles cases was ordered by Northern Ireland's most senior judge, Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan, who has described the current coronial system as "not fit for purpose".

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