Northern Ireland

Inquest into first shoot-to-kill case cannot complete before Legacy deadline

Patsy Duffy (50) was shot dead at a house at Maureen Avenue in Derry.
Inquest. Patsy Duffy (50) was shot dead at a house at Maureen Avenue in Derry.

A new inquest into what is believed to be the first shoot-to-kill killing cannot continue because MoD delays mean it wouldn’t be completed before the Legacy Act May deadline, the victim’s family has been told.

Solicitors for the family of Derry father-of-six, Patsy Duffy have been granted leave to challenge MoD delays which will be heard on February 27. Mr Duffy (50) was shot dead by a suspected undercover SAS unit at an IRA arms’ dump in Derry in November 1978.

In March 2019, a fresh inquest into his death was granted which substantively opened at Derry Courthouse in April last year. However, last month, MoD lawyers told Coroner, Fiona Bagnall that a sensitive material discovery process could not be completed until July this year, two months after the Legacy Act deadline for hearing cases.

Ms Bagnall has now told Mr Duffy’s family she cannot list the inquest for hearing to complete before the May deadline.

In anticipation of the MoD delay, lawyers for Mr Duffy’s family have been granted leave to challenge the MoD. The case is also one of those lodged against the Legacy Act at the European Court of Human Rights.

Mr Duffy’s daughter, Martina Duffy pledged to continue the family campaign for justice.

“Our father was shot 14 times by the army in that house. We want to know why,” she said.

Family solicitor, Patricia Coyle said it was “insulting” of the MoD to claim it could not complete the discovery process until two months after the legacy deadline.