Leading Democratic Unionist Ian Paisley Jnr threatened today to defy a High Court judge who ordered him to reveal a source that gave him evidence on the murder of a high-profile loyalist paramilitary.
A public inquiry probing the murder of Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) leader Billy Wright, shot dead in 1997 by republicans in the top security Maze prison, launched a legal challenge against Mr Paisley.
Today the High Court in Belfast ruled that the inquiry was right to demand Mr Paisley reveal the identity of a prison officer who told him that prison authorities ordered the destruction of files after the killing.
Mr Justice John Gillen today said he was satisfied that the inquiry had provided a clear and compelling case and ordered Mr Paisley to provide the information to the inquiry within 17 days.
Mr Paisley, an elected member of the Northern Ireland Assembly and son of the former Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Ian Paisley, said he would now consider his legal options.
But he insisted he would not reveal his source, despite the ultimate risk of a prison sentence.
“Contempt of court is punishable by imprisonment,” said Mr Paisley.
“I have said from day one, and everyone knows this, even the court, that I cannot and will not give over the name of this individual,” he said.
“So whether I, if you like, face the music today or whether I face it after a further appeal or even a House of Lords hearing, the issue remains the same, which is my source is protected.
“My source came to me, I gave that person my word. I will not be breaking that word.”