Sir Declan Morgan, the current Lord Chief Justice, wisely put forward a five-year plan to systematically deal with inquests arising out of killings during the Troubles. To their credit, the Government accepted the scheme and provided substantial finance for it.
The Chief Justice set up a unit, whereby 56 of these legacy inquests, dealing with controversial and hugely tragic killings, would be examined systematically by senior judges.
This will go some distance in addressing outstanding legacy cases.
The first legacy inquest case arising out of this scheme was that of Patrick McElhone and the findings of the Coroner, Mrs Justice Keegan QC, were delivered last week.
The inquest found that at 6.30pm on August 7, 1974, a 24-year-old single man called Patrick McElhone was shot without any warning by a soldier, Lance Corporal Jones, using a SLR rifle, in a field on his family's farm just outside Pomeroy, Co Tyrone.
Lance Corporal Jones fired one shot that entered the young man's chest from the back, thereby lacerating the base of the heart. Death was immediate.
It is an established fact that the young man was unarmed and was not acting in any threatening way. The shooting was carried out without any justification.
Lance Corporal Jones was immediately identified as being responsible for the shooting. He was later arrested and charged with murder by an RUC Detective Inspector, Mr Pickard.
Private Bedford, another military colleague, was asked if he was willing to assist Jones. He stated: "I shouldn't think so, because I was against him right from the start, the man had no weapon, it was murder."
Another military colleague, Lance Corporal Lis stated: "He was not armed and all Jones had to do was just shout and I would have stopped him. There was no warning given to Patrick or a warning shot, just bang and that was that."
Corporal Wood, another soldier colleague said, that even if the deceased was running away that might be an explanation, but it was not a reason for him being shot dead as he was unarmed.
Lance Corporal Jones, according to his patrol commander, was not subject to any disciplinary investigation and was in fact promoted to Sergeant.
Similar to Guardsmen Fisher and Wright, who were convicted of murdering Peter McBride in the New Lodge Road area in Belfast 1992, but were subsequently reinstated back into the Army after their release. Guardsman Fisher was promoted to Lance Corporal.
Think of the moral outrage, if the Russians, or the Chinese, did such a brazen act.
The sergeant who commanded the Army patrol that day, stated at the inquest, that he was clear that there was no excuse or justification whatsoever for shooting Patrick McElhone, even if he was running away.
Just before the conclusion of the inquest, counsel for the MoD conceded to the coroner in the clearest terms, that this death could not be justified by the state.
The coroner firmly concluded, that the shooting could not be justified by the State.
Mrs Justice Keegan emphasised that this was the core finding of the inquest.
Back in 1975 Lance Corporal Jones was tried and acquitted of the charge of murder. That acquittal was subsequently appealed by the Attorney General on a point of law to the House of Lords. The House of Lords upheld in law the acquittal of the soldier.
But it should be borne in mind that the recent inquest heard evidence, particularly from military personnel, that would have differed substantially from the evidence heard at the original murder trial.
Nonetheless, at the inquest, RUC Detective Inspector Pickard, the lead police investigator into the killing, and now retired from the police, said he still did not understand the acquittal of Lance Corporal Jones on the murder charge.
This decision by the House of Lords inflicted further pain for the family of Patrick McElhone.
The judicial decision around Patrick McElhone's killing inevitably created disillusionment within the nationalist community.
In any democratic society, it is the courts that citizens confidently rely upon for protection, especially from the excesses of the state, and if we cannot rely on the courts for basic justice and protection, where would our society be?
So, the legacy inquests have a real value in reassuring people of that protection.
Happily, in this case through the definitive findings of the Coroner, Mrs Justice Keegan, the McElhone family have at last found justice and peace of mind, that their innocent relative, was judicially found to be free from any hint of wrongdoing before or during the incident that led to his untimely death.
At last, after 46 years, they have found closure, having stoically suffered a deep hurt and injustice for so long, but throughout they did so with remarkable courage and nobility.