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Date set for Jordan death inquest

An inquest into the death of an unarmed IRA man shot by police in west Belfast almost 20 years ago will be held in October.

Up to four weeks have been allowed for the Pearse Jordan hearing, coroner Brian Sherrard said.

The Belfast Coroner's Court still has to decide on whether up to 20 potential witnesses should be screened when giving evidence.

Mr Jordan, 23, was shot dead by the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) in disputed circumstances on the Falls Road in November 1992.

"Maybe we should try and prioritise this matter, if we can provisionally think about the third of October for this matter to proceed," Mr Sherrard said.

He is also consulting with colleagues about the handling of material from the Stevens inquiry, the London police team which probed security force collusion in controversial conflict deaths. The police service is responsible for using the database and is also represented at the inquest.

The coroner said the database could impact on many other cases.

"It is important that nothing is done here that casts any doubt on the integrity of the PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland)," he said.

He added: "It is something that is troubling to me, and is troubling to the other participants, but it is also something that it occurs to me that I really cannot deal with it in isolation, so I think we are going to have to try to get some corporate view on it."

The remnants of the Stevens team is due to be disbanded within a week, police lawyer Tony McGleenan confirmed. The one member of staff is due to retire from the Metropolitan Police in London. The team is finishing training police legal experts from the North in operating the database.

Mr McGleenan said there was a legal problem in suggesting the family of Mr Jordan's legal team could dictate to the chief constable how the database was used. With massive amounts of material available, the inquest will have to determine what is relevant.

Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson will also have to consider issuing public interest immunity certificates to prevent disclosure of certain details which he feels may endanger security.

The coroner will also have to consider all applications for witness anonymity submitted by members or former members of the police.

A review hearing will be held later this year.

PA Media