Page last updated at 05:58 GMT, Wednesday, 11 June 2008 06:58 UK

Wright inquiry lawyer 'dismissed'

Lord MacLean
Retired judge Lord MacLean is chairing the inquiry

The former senior counsel to the Billy Wright inquiry has claimed he was dismissed from the inquiry and did not resign.

Derek Batchelor's statement is contrary to a statement by the Wright inquiry last week claiming he had resigned.

The Scottish lawyer was, for the past three years, senior legal counsel to the inquiry into the murder of the LVF leader inside the Maze prison in 1997.

Mr Batchelor said he was now considering legal action.

He said he was called to a meeting last week and advised by the inquiry panel that complaints had been made over his handling "of some staff matters".

"There was no doubt in my mind on leaving this meeting that I had been dismissed from the inquiry," he said.

"Contrary to subsequent reports, I have not resigned and I had no intention of leaving my post as the inquiry reaches critical stages."

He said he had since offered to return to the inquiry but "this has not been progressed".

"I do not wish to disrupt the work of the inquiry," Mr Batchelor said.

"It is essential that the inquiry continues and reaches a satisfactory conclusion.

"I am happy to offer assistance to any replacement counsel by sharing essential information, subject to certain limitations out with my control."

A spokesman for the Billy Wright inquiry said it did not intend to add to the statement by Lord MacLean last week.

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