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Families of IRA men Martin McCaughey and Dessie Grew take inquest verdict fight to Supreme Court

By Alan Erwin

A legal battle to secure the quashing of inquest verdicts on the SAS shooting of two IRA men is set to go to the Supreme Court.

Senior judges in Belfast have rejected claims that the tribunal into the deaths of Martin McCaughey and Dessie Grew 27 years ago failed to properly deal with suspicions of a shoot-to-kill policy.

But although they also refused leave to appeal their decision, lawyers for the dead men's families can now petition directly for a hearing in London.

They must establish a point of law of general public importance to have the case re-examined.

Solicitor Fearghal Shiels of Madden and Finucane announced the fight will continue.

"We are going to make an application directly to the Supreme Court for leave to appeal", he said.

McCaughey and Grew died after an SAS unit opened fire on them at farm buildings near Loughgall in October 1990.

Although both men were armed, neither of them fired any shots, provoking claims that they could have been arrested.

In May 2012 an inquest jury found the killings were justified. It ruled the soldiers had used reasonable force and that the IRA men's own actions contributed to their deaths.

McCaughey's sister Sally Gribben has sought to have the inquest verdict quashed.

Her lawyers contended that the tribunal did not comply with Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, with two main grounds advanced:

√ The failure to disclose to next of kin the SAS unit members' roles in other lethal force incidents.

√ The failure to secure the reattendance of the platoon commander to answer questions about his suspected link to the fatal shooting of Francis Bradley by special forces near Toomebridge in 1986.

It was also claimed that the coroner wrongly limited the extent of the inquest by confining exploration of the shoot to kill issue to soldiers who fired at McCaughey and Grew, and also discharged their weapons in another incident.

Last week, however, the Court of Appeal rejected submissions that the scope of the tribunal was too narrow.

Now it will be for the Supreme Court to decide if there are any legal points in the case worthy of further judicial consideration.

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