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Disclosure ‘progress’ in inquest of internee shot dead in escape bid

Hugh Gerard Coney was shot in the back by a British soldier as he and other internees tried to escape from Long Kesh prison camp.

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Inmates at work on the garden at the Maze Prison (formerly Long Kesh), near Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Inmates at work on the garden at the Maze Prison (formerly Long Kesh), near Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Inmates at work on the garden at the Maze Prison (formerly Long Kesh), near Belfast, Northern Ireland.

The preliminary inquest into a Co Tyrone man shot dead while trying to escape from Long Kesh in 1974 has been told that there is “a lot of progress” concerning disclosure.

The death of Hugh Gerard Coney, 24, from Coalisland was the subject of a preliminary hearing on Monday.

Mr Coney, known to his family as Gerard, was shot in the back by a British soldier as he and other internees tried to escape the prion camp, which became the Maze Prison.

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Hugh Gerard Coney, 24, who was shot dead in 1974 as he attempted to escape from Long Kesh prison camp. The case was one of six mentioned at Belfast Coroner’s Court on Thursday (Handout/PA)

Hugh Gerard Coney, 24, who was shot dead in 1974 as he attempted to escape from Long Kesh prison camp. The case was one of six mentioned at Belfast Coroner’s Court on Thursday (Handout/PA)

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Hugh Gerard Coney, 24, who was shot dead in 1974 as he attempted to escape from Long Kesh prison camp. The case was one of six mentioned at Belfast Coroner’s Court on Thursday (Handout/PA)

Barrister Fiona Doherty, appearing on behalf of the coroner Anne-Louise Toal, told the court there was a lot of progress concerning disclosure.

The court in Belfast was told that the material from the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) is both non-sensitive and sensitive and that the disclosure of material from the Attorney General is still being considered.

Material from forensic science is also ready for dissemination, the court heard.

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Ms Toal, the coroner, indicated that disclosure should be completed as much as possible by June. The full inquest is scheduled to begin in February next year.

Brenda Campbell, barrister for the family, also raised disclosure matters.

The coroner, Ms Toal, told the court that while there has been a number of stumbling blocks, she hoped disclosures issues would be resolved and that the documents would be with the family’s legal team soon.

The coroner also asked the legal representatives for Mr Coney’s family to provide contact for various witnesses who contacted them.

Ms Campbell said that would be done as expeditiously as possible.

The hearing was adjourned and the date for the next preliminary hearing was scheduled for April 25, however the coroner said she will consider an earlier preliminary hearing if one arises.


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