Belfast Telegraph

Brother furious as inquest into IRA man's shooting by Army delayed again

By Eamon Sweeney

A fresh delay to an inquest into the killing of an IRA man by the Army 45 years ago has caused further "stress and anxiety", his brother has said.

A new hearing into the death of 19-year-old Seamus Bradley was due to start on Monday in Londonderry but was adjourned to yesterday.

Now the case has been rescheduled to be heard at Laganside Court in Belfast next February.

Mr Bradley was shot in disputed circumstances by the Army in the early hours of July 31, 1972 during Operation Motorman in Londonderry's Creggan estate.

The Army claimed the teenager was shot while he was in a tree and suffered additional injuries as he fell.

However, Mr Bradley's family claim he was killed at a later point, having been taken away in an Army vehicle and subjected to interrogation.

The incident came amidst the biggest mobilisation of troops since the Suez crisis of the 1950s and was aimed at gaining access to the so-called 'no go' areas in the republican strongholds of Londonderry and Belfast.

The latest delay in beginning the inquest has been blamed on an administrative error by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Mr Bradley's brother Danny said: "It has really stressed me out. I haven't slept in the last few days and I'm shattered. You are very hopeful it will go ahead and then we are let down again. It's really affected me emotionally.

"I am so frustrated and angry by this.

"I am convinced the MoD are prolonging it because the situation has changed with a new witness coming forward and the strength of our independent ballistics report.

"Having the venue for the inquest changed from Derry to Belfast has also caused me great anxiety."

Earlier this week, Belfast Coroners Court was told that two separate PII certificates, both signed by Ministry of Defence ministers, detailed the wrong number of documents the MoD wanted the coroner to redact in the proceedings examining Mr Bradley's death.

The court heard that the MoD wanted coroner Patrick Kinney to consider blanking out portions of eight files on the grounds their contents could harm public interest.

However, only five files were mentioned in the certificates signed on behalf of the MoD by ministers Mike Penning and Mark Lancaster.

Legal counsel for the Bradley family, David Heraghty QC, branded the situation as a "debacle".

A spokesperson for the MoD said: "The decision to move the location and delay the start of the inquest was taken by the coroner. The MoD did not make an application to the coroner on either of these issues."

The Coroners Service said: "The inquest is listed for hearing on February 5, 2018 for two weeks in Laganside Courts, Belfast.

"This is the earliest available dates in the new year the inquest could be relisted. The venue is Belfast due to courtroom availability.

"The inquest was adjourned at the direction of the coroner, His Honour Judge Kinney, to allow further time for the inquest to be ready to proceed."

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