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July 7th coroner to investigate role of police and MI5

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The coroner charged with conducting the inquest into the deaths of 52 people killed in the July 7th 2005 London bombings has said she will investigate the role played by police and the security services leading up to the attack.

Lady Justice Hallett ruled on Friday that she would investigate "alleged intelligence failings" in the year leading up to the attack.

Lawyers representing families of the 52 7/7 victims had argued the coroner was legally bound to investigate the failings under the Human Rights Act, but this claim was rejected.

Nevertheless, the inquest said in a statement: "Lady Justice Hallett has ruled that the 52 resumed inquests, which will be heard together, will not only hear evidence concerning the immediate aftermath of the explosions, but will also investigate issues relating to the emergency response on July 7th 2005 and also alleged intelligence failings in advance of that day."

The security service has pledged its full cooperation as much as is possible within the realms of national security.

On Friday Lady Justice Hallett ruled the inquest into the deaths of the four bombers Mohammed Sidique Khan, Shehzad Tanweer, Hasib Hussain and Jermaine Lindsay would be held separately.

No one has ever been convicted in connection with the attacks on London's transport network, with relatives and friends of the bombers being acquitted over any involvement.

With the fifth anniversary of the bombings approaching, families of the victims had demanded the role of the security services be investigated after it emerged after the attack that ringleader Khan and Tanweer were on an MI5 watch-list.

Public hearings, which will be conducted without a jury, are due to begin in October.
© Adfero Ltd
21 May 2010 16:00 GMT

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