The Court of Appeal in London has today upheld the disputed ruling by the coroner in the Birmingham Pub Bombings Inquest, to exclude from the inquest’s consideration the central question of who was actually responsible for the bombings in 1974.
This ruling by the coroner had been successfully challenged in the High Court by bereaved families, who have, we would have thought, not only an interest but a right to ask this question after a wait of some 44 years. Given the other aspects of the events that have been excluded from consideration, this rather begs the question of what, if anything, the inquest can now achieve.
Add to that the submissions already made to the inquest, that the quashing of the convictions of the Birmingham Six does not equate to their innocence, and the result (as we examined in a previous article on this website) is that the Birmingham Six will forever remain as the only “suspects” in the frame.
The following article appears on itv.com:
The names of suspects will not be involved in the inquest into the deaths of the victims of the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings.
The Court of Appeal today ruled in favour of coroner Sir Peter Thornton QC, deciding that an investigation into who was responsible for the atrocities will not form part of the proceedings.
Sir Peter ruled in July last year that investigations into potential pepetrators should not form part of his inquiry.
In January, two High Court judges quashed the decision by Sir Peter, following a judicial review brought on behalf of the bereaved families.
Today’s ruling overturned that High Court decision.
Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett announced today (Wednesday) that the coroner had made “no error of law” and that his decision “is not open to legal objection”.
He added: “We allow the appeal and restore the original decision.”
The bombings in two city centre pubs, widely believed to be the work of the IRA, killed 21 people and injured 182, making it the deadliest peacetime attack in the UK at the time.
Six men, known as the Birmingham Six, were imprisoned for the murders and served 17 years behind bars in one of Britain’s most infamous miscarriages of justice before their convictions were quashed.
Five West Midlands Police officers were charged with perverting the course of justice in connection with the original criminal investigation, but a judge ruled in 1993 that a fair trial would be impossible.