Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Arena Inquests Could Become a Public Inquiry

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Arena Inquests Could Become a Public Inquiry

Article excerpt

THE inquests into the deaths of 22 people in the Manchester Arena attack should be converted into a public inquiry "as a matter of urgency", a coroner has formally requested. Earlier this month, Sir John Saunders granted applications by the Home Office and police for public interest immunity (PII) on the grounds of protecting national security.

He ruled that disclosing some evidence in public would "assist terrorists" in carrying out similar atrocities and said his provisional view was that an "adequate investigation" could not be conducted within the frameworks of the inquests.

Setting up a public inquiry would mean that such evidence could be heard in private session without the families of the victims and their lawyers being present.

Sir John has now written to Home Secretary Priti Patel to confirm he had decided a statutory public inquiry was necessary.

A Home Office spokesman said: "It is vital that those who survived or lost loved ones in the Manchester Arena attack get the answers that they need and that we learn the lessons, whatever they may be. …

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