Finucane inquiry challenge due before Belfast High Court

Finucane inquiry challenge due before Belfast High Court

A legal challenge to the British Prime Minister’s refusal to order a public inquiry into the murder of Catholic lawyer Pat Finucane with state support will open later.

David Cameron has accepted that the State colluded in the UDA shooting in North Belfast in 1989.

The solicitor’s family has long campaigned for a full independent public inquiry into the murder, but Mr Cameron has insisted such an exercise would not shed any more light on the events.

A government-commissioned review of the controversial murder published by Desmond de Silva detailed shocking levels of state involvement.

That included spreading malicious propaganda that Mr Finucane was sympathetic to the IRA; one or possibly more police officers proposing him as a target to loyalists; and the mishandling of state agents inside the paramilitary UDA who were involved in the murder.

While Mr de Silva found no evidence of an overarching conspiracy by the authorities to target the 38-year-old lawyer, he said the actions of a number of state employees had “furthered and facilitated” the UDA shooting while there had also been efforts to thwart the subsequent criminal investigation.

As he accepted the report’s findings in the House of Commons in December 2012, Mr Cameron reiterated an apology to the Finucane family and also pledged that the Government would examine the review in detail to identify potential lessons.

Mr Finucane was gunned down in front of his wife Geraldine and their three children inside their north Belfast home in February 1989.

Mrs Finucane has branded Mr de Silva’s review as a “sham, whitewash and confidence trick”, claiming it threw all blame on dead individuals and disbanded organisations while exonerating ministers, serving officers and existing security agencies.

The judicial review is being taken at Belfast’s High Court.


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