Coroner questions MoD and PSNI on Gagging Orders concerning Collusion Killing of 76 yr old pensioner
Yesterday evening the family of Roseanne Mallon sat at the 35th preliminary inquest hearing into the death of their 76yr old aunt in May 1994.
This attack, observed by undercover British soldiers, and carried out by a UVF death squad also injured their mother Bridget Mallon.
High Court Judge Reg Weir, the Coroner in the Mallon case, expressed his dissatisfaction and frustration at the PSNI and Ministry of defence for their continued tactics of delay and avoidance.
He told the counsel for the MoD and PSNI that their refusal to meet deadlines for providing relevant materials to the inquest is “unsatisfactory and inconsiderate”.
He told the representatives for the MoD that it is not for the MoD to decide how this matter proceeds and that the MoD were clearly moving at their own time in their own way and despite this – it is not for them to determine the timetable.
This statement came as a further application for delay in provision of relevant materials to the coroner was made. This follows three earlier extensions of time already having been granted since December 2009.
Counsel for the MoD and PSNI stated that the PSNI will be seeing the Minister Paul Goggins next Tuesday and requesting that he conduct a “balancing exercise” on the materials which may be provided to the coroner’s court and applications for Public Interest Immunity. The Ministry of Defence were less certain as to when the British Minister for defence Bob Ainsworth would be available to conduct a “balancing exercise” into military materials and determine on what and whom Public Interest Immunity would be requested. They have requested that they received an extension for this until 1st April.
Judge Weir expressed his deep frustration particularly at the Ministry of Defence on this matter. He stated that timetabling cannot be left in the hands of interested parties. He told the solicitor for the MoD Mr Murray that the letters emanating from him were a model of obfuscation on every point.
On this discussion counsel for the Mallon family Fiona Doherty stated that the PSNI and MoD are minded to ignore all deadlines. It is clear at this point that Public Interest Immunity applications have not been done or prepared, despite the assertion that British ministers will be conducting balancing exercises this week.
Despite allowing an extension until the 1st April Mr Weir stated that the application was wholly unjustified and despite him not being happy about it he was only allowing it on faith of the assurances that all obligations would be met by 1st April – and he will see if this deadline is complied with.
Speaking last night Martin Mallon, the nephew of Roseanne Mallon said:
“This was another deeply disappointing day. It was the 35th time I have sat in a Coroner’s Court hoping that all matters will be moved along so we can begin the inquest.
“While Judge Weir was scathing in his comments to the PSNI and in particular to the Ministry of Defence – we have been here before with the Coroner in Tyrone Roger McLarnon making similar remarks – the MoD and PSNI just treat all of these occasions and this family with total contempt.
“It is unbelievable that it was just taken as acceptable that two British ministers in Downing Street would be used as another reason for delay. This was a killing of 76 year old woman sitting in her own home by an illegal paramilitary organisation. Why are the PSNI and MoD seeking Public Interest Immunity Certificates in such a case?
“We of course know now that our house was under surveillance. We know that the British army watched as the killing took place.
“The questions to be answered are whether the British state also ordered and directed the killing of my aunt and wounding of my mother that night. Were there state agents involved? These delays and the interventions of British ministers do nothing to allay our suspicions. Why would the PSNI and British government through its ministers seek a gagging order in relation to the murder of our aunt – a 76 old pensioner – and the wounding of our mother by an illegal paramilitary organisation?
“This killing happened in 1994 – 16 years ago. The longer this runs on the more impact it has on our family and on the wider community. “We are now of course concerned that there will be direct political intervention into this inquest. “They have until April Fools Day to hand over all materials and have all their paperwork completed – we shall see who the fools are.”