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New judge to take up Coroners' Court post

By Lesley-Anne McKeown

Published 06/02/2016

Retired: John Leckey
Retired: John Leckey

A new High Court judge is expected to take charge of Northern Ireland's under-pressure Coroners' Courts from next week.

Mr Justice Adrian Colton is likely to be appointed Presiding Coroner, replacing Lord Justice Weir, who temporarily stepped in when the region's most senior coroner John Leckey retired last year.

Top of his "to-do" list will be wading through a major review of 56 stalled legacy cases, which touch some 97 deaths.

They include some of the most controversial killings of the Troubles such as 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.

Mr Justice Colton was sworn into office last September.

He was called to the bar in 1983 and appointed Queen's Counsel in 2006 having specialised in personal injury litigation, media law, defamation and criminal work.

The Lord Chief Justice's office said Sir Declan Morgan would retain overall responsibility for Coroners' Courts but Mr Justice Colton would provide oversight and leadership for the coroners and support the Chief Justice.

Belfast Telegraph

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