Police failures around 'Good Samaritan' IRA bombing are 'crying out' for new inquest, court hears

The scene of the 'Good Samaritan' bombing in Derry in 1987
The scene of the 'Good Samaritan' bombing in Derry in 1987

POLICE failures identified in a report into an IRA bomb that killed three neighbours are "crying out" for examination by a new inquest, the Court of Appeal has heard.

Lawyers for relatives of one of the victims of the so-called Good Samaritan attack in Derry claimed there is a legal obligation to hold a fresh tribunal.

Eugene Dalton (54) and Sheila Lewis (68) were both killed in the explosion at a house in the Creggan area in August 1988.

A third victim, 57-year-old Gerard Curran, died months later.

The attack became known as the 'Good Samaritan Bombing' because the three friends had gone to check on the whereabouts of a neighbour kidnapped earlier by the IRA.

The paramilitary grouping later apologised, admitting it had planted the device in a bid to kill soldiers.

Mr Dalton's daughter, Rosaleen, is challenging the Attorney General's decision not to order a new inquest following a report by Police Ombudsman Dr Michael Maguire.

Read more:

  • Families hold out hope for a fresh inquest on 30th anniversary of 'Good Neighbour' killings
  • Relatives of one of three neighbours killed in IRA bomb are to appeal failed legal bid to secure new inquest
  • Good Samaritan bomb inquest could be 'key' to police failures

Dr Maguire identified a failure in the police obligation to protect the lives of the public.

Following his report Attorney General John Larkin QC decided a new inquest was not advisable at that time.

But the Dalton family and their legal team claim it could help to establish responsibility for police failures.

Eugene Dalton who died in the explosion
Eugene Dalton who died in the explosion

They contend that investigative obligations under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights were rekindled by the ombudsman's findings.

In March 2017 a High Court judge refused to quash Mr Larkin's decision, citing the financial and human costs of a further public hearing which would be unlikely to advance the goal of prosecuting the perpetrators.

Fiona Doherty QC, for the Dalton family, told the Court of Appeal that the information in the Police Ombudsman report "cries out for an explanation."

Following submissions Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan, sitting with Lord Justice Stephens and Mr Justice Maguire, reserved judgment in the appeal.