Kingsmills survivor refused legal representation during inquest

December 7, 2015

The sole survivor of the Kingsmills massacre has been refused legal representation at the inquest into the atrocity, which is due to open next April.

Alan Black was shot 18 times and left for dead alongside the lifeless bodies of his 10 work mates, who were gunned down when the bus they were travelling in was ambushed near the village of Kingsmills on the 5th January 1976. No-one has ever been convicted of the murders, which were widely blamed on the IRA, even though the organisation never admitted responsibility.  Mr Black has always maintained that “agents of the state” were involved in the killings.

The Bessbrook man’s solicitors had lodged an application for legal representation back in October and it was widely expected that he would be granted the unique legal status which would allow Mr Black’s representatives to cross examine witnesses in the Coroner’s court.

He would become the first person in Northern Ireland legal history to be awarded the position free from prosecution as in the past it has only been bestowed on persons who may have incriminated themselves in a case.

During the October application, the importance of Mr Black in shedding light on what happened as the only person who could give a first hand account of what took place was heavily stressed and his legal team vowed to request a judicial review if the special status was not given.

His solicitor, Kevin Winters, said no reasons were given by the coroner during the preliminary hearing last Thursday, as to why he was not granting legal representation.

“We await reasons and will consider our next step before deciding what to do next,” he said.

Coroner Brian Sherrard also made an appeal for witnesses to the atrocity or anyone with information to come forward now. The hearing was also told that the Garda is to disclose further information within days about the killings.

The next hearing will take place on December 17th.