The family of Pearse Jordan who was shot in the back by an RUC officer in 1992 are today continuing their fight for accountability and justice in the Court of Appeal.
The case which began yesterday and continues today is being taken against the Belfast Coroner who in 2001 refused to apply the European Convention on Human Rights in the Inquest proceedings which have still not yet been heard. A separate case running at the same time is challenging the Lord Chancellor’s failure to introduce legislation that would compel the Coroner to act according to European Human Rights Law.
The case against the Coroner was dismissed by Mr Justice Kerr, who is now the Lord Chief Justice, stating that the Coroner could only act according to the law that was already in force. However, when the family then lodged a case against the Lord Chancellor for not introducing the correct legislation, that case was also dismissed, leaving the Jordan family with no option but to appeal. Despite calls for an urgent hearing in 2002, the Court of Appeal refused to hear the appeals until today, insisting on waiting for similar cases in England to be heard by the House of Lords. The English cases were decided in March of this year after long delays.
However, following a series of other cases taken in Belfast, London and Strasbourg, the government has announced that Inquest proceedings should now be compatible with the right to life that is enshrined in the Convention.