Page last updated at 12:52 GMT, Thursday, 29 May 2008 13:52 UK

'No note' kept of victim meetings

In January, details of NI's victims' commissioners were revealed
In January, details of NI's victims' commissioners were revealed

No records were kept of private meetings to appoint Northern Ireland's four victims' commissioners, the High Court has been told.

The appointment of the body is being challenged by a woman, whose parents died in the IRA's 1993 Shankill bomb.

Her lawyers said there was a "yawning gap" in how Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness reached their decision.

Counsel for the OFMDFM said they should have time to examine the claims. The case was adjourned for a week.

Barry Macdonald QC, for Michelle Williamson, said: "Neither of them appears to have committed to paper one word concerning their extensive, intensive deliberations about the appointment process.

"No one else seems to have been present at any of these crucial meetings."

He was due to apply to have Mr Paisley and Mr McGuinness attend court to answer questions, but this was also adjourned because of a legal requirement that they should be given more time to consider the issues arising in the judicial review case.

Ms Williamson has claimed the commissioners are unacceptable to innocent victims of violence.

One of the commissioners is Patricia MacBride, whose brother was an IRA member killed by the SAS.

The other three members are RUC widow Bertha McDougal, former broadcaster Mike Nesbitt and Brendan McAllister, director of Mediation Northern Ireland.

Bernard McCloskey QC, for the First and Deputy First Minister, insisted his clients should be given time to examine the claims being made the case.

He also confirmed plans to bring an application to have the case rendered academic on the grounds of legislation allowing the appointment of a victims commission rather than a single commissioner.

"The new legislation has received royal assent. That, we submit, impacts very obviously on the first, main ground of challenge," he said.

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