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1 June 2017

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‘New Lodge Six’ families apply to Attorney General for new inquest

Requests for information from the RUC, the Ministry of Defence and the British Government were ignored

THE FAMILIES of six men killed by British soldiers in the New Lodge, Belfast, on the night of 3/4 February 1973 have applied, with Relatives for Justice, to Attorney General John Larkin for a fresh inquest into their deaths.

The killings of James McCann, James Sloan, Tony Campbell, Brendan Maguire, John Loughran and Ambrose Hardy have always been disputed by their families and by the local community.

A community inquiry was held on the 30th anniversary of the killings and this collected much new evidence, including eyewitness testimony, and available public information.

Requests for information from the RUC, the Ministry of Defence and the British Government were ignored.

An international panel of experts assessed the information and concluded the British authorities had questions to answer.

New Lodge Six march 620

In the interim, despite endless negotiations, a formal independent investigation mechanism has not been established which would allow for these matters to be independently investigated.

Families have now taken the difficult decision, in the absence of other forms of investigation, that the best way to have those questions answered is through a new inquest into their loved ones’ deaths, campaign group Relatives for Justice says.

The current legal framework for the coronial system will be able to force the PSNI and Ministry of Defence to hand over documentation and ensure any surviving soldiers are required to attend and face cross-examination on their conduct 44 years ago.

It will also mean that vital testimony from eyewitnesses whose statements were not heard by the original inquest can at last be considered.

It is the Attorney General, John Larkin, who has the power to order a new inquest. A submission of all available evidence and information has been prepared for the families by Relatives for Justice and submitted to his office.

The families of James McCann, James Sloan, Tony Campbell, Brendan Maguire, John Loughran and Ambrose Hardy now hope that a new inquest will provide them with the answers they have waited for so long.

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