Published Tuesday, 17 September 2013
Neil McConville was shot three times by a PSNI officer in 2003. (© Pacemaker)
Neil McConville from Bleary near Craigavon in Co Down was driving a car in April 2003, when police followed him on the correct suspicion it was transporting a firearm.
He was shot three times at Ballinderry Upper near Lisburn by an officer who feared he would drive over an officer he had already knocked down and injured as he tried to escape.
He was the first person killed by police since the establishment of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) in 2001.
An investigation by the then Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan in 2007 found that the officer who fired the fatal shots had been justified, but her probe criticised the detective superintendent's management of the operation, saying he had not taken steps to "minimise the possibility of recourse to lethal force".
The inspector refused to be interviewed by investigators from her office.
The police officer who fired the shots retired during the probe.
At a preliminary inquest hearing into the death on Tuesday, a lawyer for the family of Mr McConville told coroner Suzanne Anderson that both officers had been involved in contentious lethal force RUC operations during the Troubles.
Karen Quinlivan QC said the detective superintendent and inspector who had been in the command room during the incident, also had roles in operations that resulted in the death of 22-year-old IRA man Pearse Jordan, who was shot shortly after the stolen car he was driving was rammed by police in west Belfast in 1992.
She said the inspector had also been in the RUC undercover unit that shot dead a Catholic teenager Michael Tighe in an alleged 'shoot-to-kill' incident in 1982.
The court was also told by the lawyer that the officer had fired 30 shots into the hay shed at a suspected IRA arms dump where the 19-year-old was killed.
Ms Quinlivan claimed the officer had also been involved in at least one other shooting, and also during his career had evidence provided by him criticised in a separate crown court case.
The lawyer requested official documentation on the incidents as she argued they are "potentially relevant" to the inquest.
"The PSNI need to cross reference their witnesses to see if any other witnesses were involved in lethal force incidents," she said.
She commented that the public may have assumed that RUC officers involved in so-called 'shoot-to-kill' episodes would not still be involved in PSNI operations more than 20 years later -"but that seems to be the case".
The coroner told Ms Quinlivan to make her argument in writing for her consideration.
A passenger in the car Mr McConville had been driving sustained non-life threatening injuries. He was found with a sawn-off shot gun and was later jailed for possessing the weapon.
© UTV News