On 9 October 2007 , the Senior Coroner for Northern Ireland will hold a Preliminary Hearing of the Inquest into the deaths of three men shot dead in controversial circumstances by the RUC in Lurgan in November 1982. The hearing will take place at May’s Chambers in Belfast.
The deaths of Gervaise McKerr, Eugene Toman and Sean Burns were subject to an investigation by former Deputy Chief Constable John Stalker in the mid 1980s. Stalker was later removed from his inquiry in 1986.
An Inquest into their deaths was opened in June 1984. In September 1994 the Coroner was forced to abandon the Inquest as a result of a High Court ruling refusing the Coroner access to the Stalker/Sampson reports, or to access fresh material arising from their investigations
Solicitor for the families of the three men, Peter Madden of Madden & Finucane, Solicitors, said:
“In 1994, almost 12 years after their deaths the Coroner was forced to abandon the Inquest because of a High Court ruling refusing the Coroner access to the Stalker/Sampson reports, or access to fresh material arising from their investigations. Following our challenge to the House of Lords earlier this year in the McCaughey case, which has resulted in an obligation on the Police to provide all material in its possession to the Coroner, we requested that the Coroner look again this inquest. The surviving RUC men responsible for firing more than 100 rounds at the car containing the deceased will now be compellable witneses at the inquest and shall be cross examined by the families lawyers. The coroner’s verdict can make explicit factual findings pointing towards a conclusion that criminal or civil responsibility exists.”