Inquests into Troubles-related deaths more than 20 years ago are to come under the spotlight again following a judgment in the House of Lords.
Legal challenges are to be heard in the High Court in Belfast in the cases of a victim of loyalist gunmen and a man shot dead by the SAS.
A further judicial review concerns a man shot dead in 1992 but whose inquest has still to finish.
The common point is a judgment by law lords that the PSNI is obliged to provide coroners with all the relevant documentation relating to each victim.
The two deaths where inquests were held were those of Gerard Casey (29), who was shot by
loyalists in his home at Rasharkin
in Co Antrim in 1989, and Danny Doherty, who was killed by the SAS in the grounds of Gransha Hospital in Derry in 1984.
Solicitor Peter Madden, who is
acting for Mr Casey’s daughter Tara and Mr Doherty’s widow Julie, said: “These applications for judicial review were lodged when it emerged that the RUC failed to provide
full disclosure to the coroner.
“The PSNI will no longer be permitted to choose what information it decides to disclose.”
The application in respect of the inquest not yet completed relates to the killing of Kevin McKearney (32) in a butcher’s shop in Moy, Co Tyrone in 1992.
His uncle Jack (70) also died later from gunshot wounds.
Richie McRitchie, who is acting
for Kevin McKearney’s widow Bernadette, said that the challenge related to the difficulties imposed on the coroner.
“After the authorities show him the relevant documents he has to decide what is relevant before it can be passed on to the next of kin,’’ he said.
“But how can he be expected
to make such a decision when
the conditions in which he is shown the material are so restrictive that he will not be given copies and
any notes he makes have to be approved?”
Two days have been allocated for the hearing in November.
The outcome is expected to have a bearing on a host of other historic inquests which have been opened and repeatedly adjourned over the years.