Murderer loses appeal over inquest
Published 24/11/2010 | 14:12
A murderer has failed in a High Court bid to prevent his conviction being reported during an inquest examining his role in the fatal shooting of an army officer almost 40 years ago.
Duncan Munro McLuckie was due to give evidence at the fresh probe into the shooting of Warrant Officer Bernard Adamson, 30, at a military firing range in Co Fermanagh, but the hearing has now been adjourned to allow him to consider whether he will appeal against the court decision.
Mr Adamson's family expressed dismay at the latest delay to the new inquest, which was ordered by the Attorney General. One of his daughters - Catherine Adamson Mercer - had flown from America to give evidence.
McLuckie fired the shot that killed the father of four in 1972 but was not charged over an incident the Ministry of Defence concluded was a tragic accident in which live cartridges had got mixed in with blank rounds. An inquest in the same year returned an open verdict.
But 17 years later, having left the army, McLuckie was convicted of murder over an unconnected death and is serving a life sentence in a high security prison in the north of England.
It was these facts that the 'high risk' category A prisoner in HMP Frankland did not want reported in the press during the fresh inquest claiming it could have influenced the jury's deliberations.
On Tuesday, Northern Ireland's Senior Coroner John Leckey refused to grant the reporting restriction. Among his reasons was the fact McLuckie's status and conviction had already been widely reported after being raised in open court during preliminary hearings ahead of the inquest. Within hours, the prisoner's legal representatives took emergency judicial review proceedings at Belfast High Court seeking to overturn Mr Leckey's decision.
But on Wednesday morning Mr Justice Treacy upheld the coroner's ruling and dismissed the application.
When the inquest resumed at Belfast's coroner's court, McLuckie's lawyers said they would need time to decide whether they would appeal Mr Treacy's decision.
In light of that indication, Mr Leckey said it would not be appropriate to continue with the inquest and discharged the jury.