Belfast Telegraph

Family want inquest moved to Northern Ireland after Irish coroner accused of 'cover-up'

By Ed Carty

A man whose wife died in Belfast after she was transferred from a hospital in the Republic is considering asking for her inquest to be moved to Northern Ireland after accusing an Irish coroner of a cover-up.

Dhara Kivlehan (28) died from multi-organ failure in Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital on September 28, 2010 after suffering a severe strain of pre-eclampsia and being airlifted from Sligo General.

Her husband Michael (34) launched a broadside from the public gallery of Carrick-on-Shannon courthouse after Coroner Eamon MacGowan offered to review the witness list but refused to commit to add six names to it.

"It's a bloody cover-up. A cover-up. My wife was Indian," Mr Kivlehan said. "I will not stand for this. It's a cover-up. Shame on you."

His solicitor Damien Tansey told the coroner if there was any attempt to shorten the inquest "the Kivlehans will be unhappy and take their unhappiness elsewhere".

Mr Tansey accused the coroner of completely refusing to hear from more than one expert witness. "This is to deprive unduly the jury of a valuable resource. With respect, you are behaving in an arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable manner," he said.

The Kivlehan family have been in dispute with the coroner after he offered to hear evidence from six witnesses – two doctors from Sligo, two from the Royal, Mr Kivlehan and Dr Peter Boylan, a consultant obstetrician.

Dr Boylan was an expert witness at the inquest of Indian dentist Savita Halappanavar, who died in hospital in Galway in 2012 after a miscarriage and blood poisoning.

The Kivlehans said they want to see the coroner adopt the approach taken by Belfast Coroner Dr John Leckey, who suggested 24 witnesses give evidence when the inquiry into the death originally opened in Northern Ireland. It was moved to the Republic as it was feared doctors from the Republic could not be compelled to give evidence in Belfast.

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