Tuesday 16 January 2018

Mother wants new inquest into death of son's killer

Tim Healy

THE MOTHER of a man stabbed to death three years ago has challenged the State's refusal to direct a new inquest be held into the death of her son's killer.

The High Court action has been brought by Nuala Creane, whose son Sebastian (22) was stabbed to death by Shane Clancy at at their home at Cuala Grove, Bray on August 16, 2009.

Mr Clancy took his own life on the same date.

Another of Mrs Creane's sons Dylan and Jennifer Hannigan, who was Sebastian 's girlfriend and an ex-girlfriend of Mr Clancy, were seriously wounded by Mr Clancy in the attack.

Mrs Creane has brought proceedings because of her family unhappiness in the manner in which an inquest into the death of Mr Clancy, which returned an open verdict, was conducted.

The inquest into Mr Clancy's death was the only public forum in which the circumstances of Mrs Creane's youngest son death would ever be investigated or explored.

They asked the Attorney General for a new inquest be held, but that request was turned down earlier this year.

Today, lawyers acting for Mrs Creane told the High Court that the inquest into Mr Clancy's death was held in April 2010 by the Coroner for East Wicklow, Cathal Louth. In her affidavit Mrs Creane said that inquest was not held in an open fair or balanced manner.

Mrs Creane said that prior to the inquest she and her husband met with Mr Louth, who she says made certain representations about how the inquest would be conducted, including representations about how evidence about Shane Clancy's relationship with antidepressants and his behaviour on the night on which she said her son was "murdered."

As a result of that meeting with Mr Louth, Mrs Creane said she and her husband elected to stay away from the inquest. Mrs Creane said that despite the reassurances, Mr Louth misled them and failed to conduct the inquest in a fair manner.

She said that following more publicity about their sons death in March 2012 they wrote to both the Attorney requesting that she order a new inquest, under Section 24(1) of the 1962 Coroners Act, into Mr Clancy's death. They also wrote to the Minister for Justice asking him to inquire into the alleged conduct of Mr Louth in this case.

In reply last April the office of the Attorney General refused to order a new inquest. No reasons, it is claimed. were given.

The Minister, the court heard, has not make any decision in relation to the complaint furnished to him.

In her proceedings against the Attorney General and the Minister for Justice, Mrs Creane is seeking various orders including one that the AG direct that a new inquest into the death of Mr Clancy be held.

She is also seeking declarations including that the AG's refusal to direct a new inquest is unreasonable, and is in breach of Mrs Creane's right's to fair procedure, and natural and Constitutional Justice.

They want an order directing the AG to consider their request for a new inquest and want proper reasons furnished for her decision.

She is further seeking a declarations that the Minister for Justice's failure to make a decision in relation to Mr Louth's conduct in relation to the inquest held into Mr Clancy's death is an infringement of Mrs Creane's rights.

They want an order directing the Minister to consider their complaint properly and to make a proper decision in relation to their complaint.

Leave to bring the challenge was granted, on an ex parte basis, by Mr Justice Michael Peart today. The action was made returnable to a date in late July.

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