Justice for the 21
Justive for the 21
>
4 August 2017 

Please Help Us to Challenge the Coroner's decision to Exclude the murderers from the Inquest. THEY MUST be part of the scope to enable us to have a full and transparent Inquest! 

Please donate whatever you can afford via this link

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/justice4the21

On behalf of ALL the Justice4the21 families THANK YOU!

 

 

 

Latest News:            New 21-Today album available

(A compilation two CD set of 21 songs specially donated by Birmingham and Midlands musicians).

Why the Home Secretary MUST resolve the pub bombs inquest funding debacle

Ball is firmly back in Amber Rudd's court - lawyer

The battle by Birmingham pub bombing families for inquest funding to pay for lawyers looks set to remain unresolved as we move into 2017. Here KRW LAW LLP Litigation Consultant Christopher Stanley explains why - and says the ball is firmly back in the court of Home Secretary Amber Rudd who must resolve this “untenable situation.”

Two years ago in December 2014, Julie Hambleton and her mother Margaret, travelled to Belfast.

This law firm is unique in Northern Ireland in that it has a dedicated Legacy Litigation department consisting of 10 dedicated staff working on behalf of relatives and victims of the conflict in Northern Ireland.

Julie and her mum were in Belfast seeking advice as to how to make progress in understanding why Julie’s sister and Margaret’s daughter, Maxine, was killed together with 20 others in the Birmingham pub bombings, 40 years before.

Until going to Belfast Julie and her family – and the other families of the victims – had been ignored and forgotten. No one had offered them any support, either at the time or subsequently when the Birmingham Six were freed on appeal in 1991.

Despite the work of the Justice for the 21 campaign, the West Midlands Police either ignored them or patronised them.

Some of those killed in the Birmingham Pub Bombings.

Pictures of some of those who were killed 42 years ago.

Since instructing KRW LAW LLP Julie and her family and eight other families who lost loved ones on November 21, 1974, huge progress has been made.

 

An application to resume the original inquests was made to the Attorney General resulting in the Senior Coroner for Birmingham and Solihull holding a series of hearings this year culminating in her decision that she had both the power to resume the original inquests, that she had sufficient reason to do so and that the inquests should be compliant with human rights standards.

Last month the former Chief Coroner of England and Wales, Peter Thornton QC, held the first in a series of hearings which will lead to the resumption of the inquests in 2017.

This will be the first and last time that an independent investigation into all the surrounding circumstances of the Birmingham Pub Bombings will be possible and will enable the relatives of the victims to participate and assist the Coroner in his investigation.

We know that West Midlands Police (WMP), Devon and Cornwall Police, the Police Federation, the Home Office, the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defence are Interested Persons to the inquests and are represented by barristers paid for by taxpayers money – in the case of the WMP the council tax of the those relatives of the victims seeking truth, justice and accountability. The Police Federation legal team will be paid for by retired police officers subscriptions.

KRW LAW LLP continue to represent their clients free of charge. At the last hearing they were unable to instruct counsel because of the on-going costs being borne by them.

 

This was noted by the Coroner and he made it clear he supported the families’ application for public funding for their legal representation into order for them to effectively participate in this long, complex and sensitive legal process.

 

 

The families are clear in their instructions that they want KRW LAW LLP to continue to represent them – the family of Pamela Palmer instructed KRW LAW LLP after the last hearing with full knowledge of the impasse regarding funding.

 

As 2016 comes to a close – with much achieved by Justice for the 21 and their legal team – funding is still not in place.

 

KRW LAW LLP have been confronted with the obstacle that since they do not practice in England and Wales they cannot be a given a contract for legal aid in order to apply for legal aid funding for their clients.

Talks between KRW LAW LLP and two English law firms with legal aid contracts have not resulted in a business agreement by which KRW could operate an agent in England.

Both firms have concluded that such an arrangement is not workable given the amount of work already undertaken by KRW and the difficulties that would be involved in securing compliance with the stipulations of a legal aid contract.

KRW have suggested they register to practice in England and apply for a legal aid contract. The LAA have said this is not possible as there are no public tenders out for legal aid contracts. KRW remain open to continued negotiations with the LAA and other government agencies.

KRW have updated both the Coroner and the Home Secretary on the current impasse.

The Home Secretary, in her letter to Julie Hambleton of September 23 2016, said that a Hillsborough-style bespoke funding pot was not acceptable whilst legal aid remained a possibility.

KRW have now said to the Home Secretary that legal aid, from their position, is not possible.

It is back to the Home Secretary now to resolve this untenable situation with anxious scrutiny to ensure Justice for the 21 is achieved through the legal team they continue to instruct.

http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/news-opinion/home-secretary-must-resolve-pub-12346177 

 

 

The next Preliminary Hearing is due to take place 23 February 2017, at the Coroner's Court building, Bull Street, Birmingham.

 

Justice4the21 would like to thank the Chief Coroner Peter Thornton QC and Senior Coroner Mrs Louise Hunt for their time, respect and professionalism during this momentous year.

On Wednesday June 1st 2016, Mrs Hunt decided that she did have the authority to resume the Birmingham Pub Bombings Inquest and that she had reasons to do so.

We would like to thank ALL those who have supported our campaign across the years. Without each and everyone of you, our campaign would not be where it is today. 

In particular those who took time out of their own lives to help us collect signatures in the cold, those who helped design this website, the Birmingham Mail, BBC, ITV and of course our legal team KRW LAW LLP. 

We have been truly humbled by the support from home, far and wide. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you all!

http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/birmingham-pub-bombings-inquests-re-11410611

Birmingham Pub Bombings 1974: Senior Coroner, Mrs. Louise Hunt, will make her decision on whether to resume the inquest into the deaths of the 21 people who lost their lives the evening of 21 November 1974, on Wednesday 1st June at 10:00am, which is due to be held at Solihull Council Chamber. 

Mrs Hunt has set aside 12th May for her to hear any final submissions from any other 'interested persons'. This will also take place at Solihull Council Chambers at 10:00am.

Birmingham Pub Bombings 1974: Note of Hearing before Senior Coroner, Mrs. Louise Hunt, 10 February 2016

On 10 February 2016 the Senior Coroner for Birmingham and Solihull, Mrs. Louise Hunt, heard an application by KRW LAW LLP on behalf of three families who lost loved ones in the Birmingham Pub Bombings 1974
Legal submissions were advanced on behalf of the families, the Police Federation, West Midlands Ambulance Service and the Chief Constable of West Midlands Police. These focused on whether the Senior Coroner has the power to resume the inquest into the deaths of the 21 people who lost their lives on 21 November 1974 and, if so, whether there is sufficient reason for her to do so. The Senior Coroner also heard detailed legal submissions on whether a death which occurred before the Human Rights Act 1998 came into force will attract a procedural obligation to hold an Article 2 ECHR compliant inquest.
Ashley Underwood QC and Malachy McGowan BL on behalf of KRW LAW LLP, represented three of the families in the preliminary hearing on 10 February 2016. 
Although the Senior Coroner has deferred her decision on whether to resume the inquests, Counsel for the Chief Constable of West Midlands Police, Jeremy Johnson QC, informed the Senior Coroner that three new sources of information are being examined, including fresh forensic evidence, and that the investigation is not closed. The Senior Coroner was told that West Midlands Police would have “no difficulty in responding to directions for disclosure”, albeit that it would be a “huge undertaking.” The Senior Coroner  was told that as many as 35 of the 168 exhibits used as evidence at the Lancaster Crown Court trial in 1975 are thought to have been lost.
After hearing legal submissions from the parties, the Senior Coroner stated that in the absence of any evidence from West Midlands Police she was in an “evidential vacuum”. She stated “I need to adjourn to receive the evidence that I need to make the decision that I need to make”
Giving West Midlands Police until 4 March 2016 to respond, the Senior Coroner asked for information about any informant in the IRA unit, any advance warning of the bombs, any delays in evacuating the bars, whether “reasonable steps” were taken on the night, whether records had been falsified, and for a full list of the evidence that has been lost. That date has now been extended by permission of the Senior Coroner and all Interested Persons have been asked to sign an undertaking regarding confidentiality relating to the material.
The Senior Coroner stated that there will be another hearing for any additional submissions, and she set a provisional date of 6 April 2016 for her decision.
 
The murder of 21 victims, who were killed in terrorist bomb explosions at The Tavern in The Town and The Mulberry Bush, remains one of the biggest riddles in British criminal history.
The outrage also left almost 200 seriously injured, some of whom lost limbs or were maimed for life.
The killers, an IRA hit team, avoided detection and six innocent men were wrongly convicted of the crime, which happened at the height of the Provisional’s bombing campaign of the British mainland.
Inquests which were opened were never completed because of the conviction of theBirmingham Six .
The six were eventually released nearly two decades later after several appeals and a campaign which won global support.
Since then, no-one has been brought to justice.
Today a statement from the Coroner said she had received an application from lawyers representing the families of victims Maxine Hambleton , Trevor Thrupp and James Craig to resume the inquest that was adjourned by Coroner Billingham in 1974.
“In order to make a decision the Senior Coroner will hear submissions from interested persons at a hearing starting at 10am on February 10-12 2016.
"If you consider that you are an interested person in these proceedings or require further information contact Lynne Boyle on 0121 303 4274 or emaillynne.boyle@birmingham.gov.uk"
The hearing will take place at the Civic Suite at Solihull Council House and she will deliver her decision at the same venue on February 24.
Last year West Midlands Police said unless any new evidence came to light the case would not be re-opened. It admitted it had lost more than 30 pieces of evidence, including a third bomb which failed to explode on the night of November 21, 1974.
Earlier this year legal representatives of some of the victims’ relatives lodged an application with Attorney- General Jeremy Wright for the inquests to be re-opened and concluded properly. He asked for the opinion of the Senior Coroner.
Today Christopher Stanley of Belfast based human rights law firm KRW LAW LLP, which made the application, said: “We are aware that the Senior Coroner, following our application to her to re- open the inquest into the Birmingham Pub Bombings 1974, requires as much information as possible from as many interested persons as possible in order to inform her decision.”
KRW LAW LLP represents the family of Maxine Hambleton, aged 18, who died in The Tavern in Town.
Maxine’s sister and brother, Julie and Brian Hambleton, lead the campaign group Justice4the21 which is seeking the truth behind the blackest night in Birmingham’s history.
Julie Hambleton said: “There are 21 families whose lives were changed forever on that night and they have never been told the truth about what happened. There are many more - the casualties and those who came to their aid on the night - whose lives were changed forever, too.
“The inquests were opened, quite properly, within a week of it happening and then adjourned. They were never resumed after the trial of the Birmingham Six - a trial which later turned out to be a travesty and which led to their wrongful conviction.
“We believe it is only right for the inquest to be re-opened, even after the passing of the years, because it is an opportunity for the truth to be told and a chance for all those left bereaved to find out more about what happened to their loved ones.
“I can only speak for my family, but for us, we cannot move on until we have explored every avenue to try to get to the truth. So we would urge those with a direct interest and those who want to know the truth to contact the coroner.
“We believe that legally and morally we have right on our side and so we must pursue this.”
Paddy Hill, one of the Birmingham Six, said “I fully support the application to resume the inquest into the Birmingham Pub Bombings.
“The families of the victims have received no support since 1974 and now would be the time to ask the difficult questions that need asking – no matter how uncomfortable for all concerned.
“The truth should be out – the families deserve an inquest in compliance with human rights.”
http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/birmingham-pub-bombings-coroner-hold-10302911