Northern Ireland news

Appeal allowed in Raymond McCord jnr case

Raymond McCord at a previous court hearing. Picture by Hugh Russell.

A victims campaigner suffering from ill health has been given new hope in his legal fight to secure an inquest into the loyalist killing of his son more than 21 years ago.

Senior judges in Belfast allowed Raymond McCord's appeal against a decision to put the challenge on hold, his lawyers said.

The 65-year-old, who arrived at the Royal Courts of Justice hours after being released from hospital, praised the judiciary for their handling of the case.

Mr McCord said: "The Lord Chief Justice and his colleagues showed real compassion towards me.

"I believe this brings me a step closer to finally achieving an inquest into my son's murder."

Raymond McCord Jnr, 22, was beaten to death before his body was dumped at a quarry outside north Belfast in November 1997.

The killing was carried out by an Ulster Volunteer Force gang based in the Mount Vernon area of the city.

Despite a series of preliminary hearings, an inquest has yet to get underway.

Delays have been linked to investigations into paramilitary crime attributed to the UVF unit who operated in the Mount Vernon estate.

In 2007 a major Police Ombudsman investigation established Special Branch officers colluded with the gang behind Mr McCord Jnr's murder and a series of other killings.

Lawyers for the victim's father have issued judicial review proceedings against the PSNI, the Coroner's Service and the Department of Justice.

They are seeking a declaration that his human rights have been breached.

Last year the challenge was put on hold due to other legacy-related cases.

The campaigner is currently on a waiting list for a gallbladder operation.

He revealed that he spent the night in an accident and emergency ward, on a drip for pain relief, before attending court.

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