Thu, 12 May 2016
Nageena Khalique QC attended the Disclosure hearing on 12 May 2016 with KRW LLP, Julie Hambelton, justice 4 the 21 and the families of the victims.
At today's hearing before the Senior Coroner of Birmingham and Solihull, the issue of disclosure was again considered. It was anticipated that sufficient disclosure would have taken place by now to enable the coroner to make a decision as to whether to re-open the inquests into the deaths of the victims of the pub bombings and that decision was due to be handed down in June 2016.
However, the proceedings took an unexpected turn which potentially could have caused further delays in the progress of this case. Despite extensive disclosure from West Midlands Police, the coroner invited the government departments to consider disclosing material within their possession which could assist in determining whether the inquests should proceed.
The government legal department attended the hearing on behalf of the Secretary of State for the Home Department, the Secretary of State for Commonwealth and Affairs and the Secretary of State for Defence
After hearing submissions from the interested parties, there was agreement that the coroner had sufficient material before her to make her decision by 1st June 2016. There was a large volume of material going back 43 years, which the government legal Department would have to review, which would take a minimum of 3 months to do. It was not proportionate or necessary for that exercise to be undertaken yet.
The coroner accepted that she was able to consider the current information and determined that it was proportionate safe and expedient to make a decision on 1st June 2016 regarding whether to hold an inquest or not. She indicated her intention to give her reasons in public unless there were issues regarding senstive material, in which case she would invite submissions from the interested parties, including the media.
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