Investigations & Analysis - Northern Ireland
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John Larkin

Attorney General concerned at Northern Trust's reporting of deaths



NORTHERN Ireland’s Attorney General has expressed “very great concern” that a number of deaths being investigated at the Northern Health Trust were only referred to the coroner after intervention from his office.

On March 28 2014 the then Health Minister, Edwin Poots, told the Assembly that 11 deaths were under investigation at the Northern Trust because the trust’s response was said to be “below standard”.

Now the Attorney General, John Larkin QC, has stated in a letter to Stormont’s Justice Committee that six of the cases had not been reported to the coroner immediately after death. He said four of these were “only referred” after his request for information, which occurred immediately after he read media reports of the deaths on March 30.

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John Leckey1

Government destroyed Stalker Sampson files weeks before 'Shoot to Kill' inquest was due to open



Top secret files relating to the killing of nine men in Co Armagh more than 30 years ago were destroyed by the British government just weeks before an inquest into the deaths was due to begin, The Detail can reveal.

The reports, which became known as the ‘Shoot to Kill’ investigations, are expected to play a crucial role in the inquest investigation of events surrounding the killings.

However The Detail has now obtained official government correspondence confirming that Stalker/Sampson files were destroyed last February, just weeks before the inquest was due to open.

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Police can request a breath test when they have reason to suspect a person is driving under the influence of alcohol

Stormont faces major challenge tackling drink and drug driving



THERE have been more than 6,500 arrests in Northern Ireland for driving while under the influence of drink or drugs during the last two years.

The new police arrest figures obtained by The Detail, which are being made public for the first time, come as the Northern Ireland Assembly examines legislation that could see the drink-drive limit reduced by almost 40%.

The figures show that between May 2012 and May 2014 over 80% of those arrested were men, while the most common time of arrest was between 12am and 6am.

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PSNI crested bibles

PSNI questioned over equality testing in approval of police crested bibles



The Police Service of Northern Ireland is facing criticism that it breached its own safeguards after it allowed the PSNI crest to be used on Christian bibles without equality assessments being carried out.

A leading academic and trade union have both questioned whether it was appropriate for the PSNI to allow its police crest to be printed on Christian bibles being offered to police staff without equality screening tests having been undertaken.

A key part of fair employment legislation, introduced after the Good Friday agreement in 1998, requires public bodies to undertake an Equality Screening process to assess whether or not any proposed policy or decision could breach Section 75 safeguards.

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