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Murdered teen’s legal team ‘baffled’ by Police Ombudsman report delay

Legalrepresentatives for the family of a Catholic teenager shot dead by loyalists said they are “baffled” by the failure of the Police Ombudsman to publish a report into the circumstances of his death.

Gerard Lawlor (19) was gunned down by the UDA as he walked along Floral Road, north Belfast, in July 2002 after a night out.

At the time the UDA said the shooting was a “measured military response” to other sectarian attacks in the area.

During a preliminary hearing into his death in Belfast yesterday Fiona Doherty, a legal representative for Mr Lawlor’s family, said they were “baffled” that a Police Ombudsman investigation into the PSNI probe has taken almost five years to complete.

She said: “There seems to be a long and somewhat complicated history in relation to this relatively straightforward complaint.”

During the brief hearing a representative for the Police Ombudsman’s Office, Paul Holmes, told coroner John Leckey the report has been completed and will go through the “critical review process” before it is made public.

That process was introduced by the office after mistakes were discovered in a draft of the McGurk’s Bar report which was finally published earlier this year.

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A spokesman for the Police Ombudsman’s Office said they will report back to the coroner by August 26.

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