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Shot teen's family in 'justice' bid


Northern Ireland Attorney General John Larkin

Northern Ireland Attorney General John Larkin

Northern Ireland Attorney General John Larkin

The sister of a teenager shot dead by the Army more than 40 years ago has said she hopes a new inquest, scheduled for next April, will bring some closure.

Manus Deery was 15 when he was killed in the Bogside area of Londonderry in May 1972.

His death was among the most controversial of the Troubles, and is one of a number of legacy-related cases being re-examined by the coroner.

After a preliminary hearing in Belfast, Helen Deery said: "We want to have the open verdict from the inquest that was held in 1972 overturned and obviously prosecutions.

"We hope that justice will flow from the new inquest."

The family has always disputed Ministry of Defence (MoD) claims that a soldier in a lookout post on Derry's walls fired at what was believed to have been a gunman but missed and that the ricochet hit the teenager in the head.

The Royal Welch Fusilier soldier who fired the fatal shot, known as soldier A, was never convicted and has since died.

A fresh inquest was ordered by Northern Ireland Attorney General John Larkin in 2012 and is expected to take place next April.

Coroner Jim Kitson said the case was progressing well and that difficulties with the disclosure of classified material should be dealt with expeditiously.

He said: "It seems like we are still on track to meet the dates for hearing of this case which is clearly encouraging."

The court also heard that some sensitive documents were awaiting clearance from government officials.

Martin Wolf, representing the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), said: "They have passed through the chief constable's office and they are now with the NIO (Northern Ireland Office) and we await a date for the minister's diary.

"We are endeavouring to establish whether a date could be given for the minister's diary and have been told that it has not been granted yet.

"But, hopefully it will be in this calendar year or early in the next."

The coroner said he was confident the dates for the hearing, expected to be held in Londonderry, would not be compromised.

Mr Wolf added: "Everybody knows the date for the hearing."

Meanwhile, the draft witness list; scope of the inquest, and the requirement for a jury were among the other matters discussed during the short hearing.

It also emerged that the coroner would examine Army files including soldiers' disciplinary records next month.

The case was adjourned until January.