Belfast Telegraph

File sent to PPS over 2016 death of Belfast DJ Gerard McMahon, inquest told

Gerard McMahon
Gerard McMahon
Gerard McMahon's mother Ella

By Rebecca Black

A file has been sent to the Public Prosecution Service following the death of a Belfast DJ in the city three years ago, an inquest has heard.

Gerard McMahon (36), who worked under the name DJ Macko, died in hospital on September 8, 2016.

It came hours after he was detained by police who responded to what was described at the time as a "violent incident" in Great Victoria Street.

The Police Ombudsman's Office (PONI) launched an investigation after saying it "appeared that CS spray was used".

A preliminary hearing into the death at Belfast Coroner's Court yesterday heard the PONI had sent a file to the Public Prosecution Service in October 2018.

Coroner Joe McCrisken told the hearing he had met PONI investigators twice since Mr McMahon's death for updates.

"I'd found a file put together by the Police Ombudsman had been forwarded to the Public Prosecution Service in October of last year. I then received a letter from the senior public prosecutor indicating she received the file in May of this year - eight months then between sending the file and senior prosecutors getting the file and attempting to make a decision," he said.

"No decision has been taken yet, and as I have indicated to the Public Prosecution Service, I am just not prepared to wait and have things delayed any longer.

"I have a duty to progress the inquest as soon as possible so that evidence isn't lost and so memories don't fade."

Counsel for the PONI told the coroner the PPS contacted their offices in August asking for further information which would require police to be reinterviewed.

The coroner was told that the PONI investigators are advancing that matter and had been in correspondence with solicitors instructed on behalf of police in the hope that police would attend for interview.

Counsel added that the police solicitor has failed to respond and it may well be the case that the PONI would have to utilise their full range of powers in order to bring the matter to some kind of conclusion.

The coroner was told the PPS is "concerned" that an inquest would proceed ahead of their decision on whether to prosecute.

Mr McCrisken said the PPS has had "more than enough time".

Padraig O Muirigh, acting for the McMahon family, said the delays were of "great concern to the family", calling it "unacceptable".

Mr McCrisken added: "My view is that we should move forward and hear this inquest for everyone's benefit."

The inquest has been scheduled for February 17 to 21.

Speaking outside court, Mr McMahon's mother Ella said her son Gerard had been "her rock".

"I know we'll never get him back again, but we have to see a justice for him," she added.

Belfast Telegraph


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