The families of Birmingham pub bombing victims have been refused legal aid to challenge a ruling that suspects should not be named. Julie Hambleton, whose elder sister Maxine was killed (see picture), told the BBC that the families had been ‘left with our backs against the wall’.
They are challenging a coroner’s decision that IRA suspects would not be named at new inquests. In July this year the senior coroner Sir Peter Thornton QC said: ‘The identity of perpetrators is not a question that an inquest is charged with answering. Indeed, it may be prohibited from expressing its view on this matter.’
The families’ lawyers said the issue was ‘central to the case’ and threatened to boycott the inquests. According to the BBC, Hambleton said the families wanted the investigation to consider ‘who made the bombs, who directed them, who carried them, who planted them and their associates’.
‘We went to the Legal Aid Agency because a judge found that there was sufficient merit for the challenge to be heard before a panel of judges,’ Hambleton told the Daily Mail. ‘The LAA appears not to think there is such merit or sufficient public interest to award public funding for such an important challenge.’
She said the Justice4the21 campaign had raised £17,000 to apply for the judicial review. ‘This is yet another example of how the families are continually being obstructed from getting to the truth and from having fair access [to legal funding].’
- ‘From crisis to full blown emergency’: MoJ facing 40% budget over the last decade - 21st November 2017
- Another funding setback for the Birmingham pub bombing families - 14th November 2017
- JusticeWatch: Trouble ahead - 10th November 2017
- Why do some defence lawyers regard their clients as ‘a problem’? - 8th November 2017
- National Pro Bono Week: What’s on - 7th November 2017
- JusticeWatch: Bishop backs Hillsborough Law proposals - 3rd November 2017
- Long-awaited review into deaths in custody calls for legal aid for bereaved families - 1st November 2017
- ‘Not a moment too soon’: Government finally begins LASPO review - 31st October 2017
- JusticeWatch: Lidington flags up possibility of legal aid ‘triage’ - 27th October 2017
- Defence lawyers attack latest ‘untenable’ fee cuts - 25th October 2017