Family of Pat Finucane granted judicial review on decision not to hold public inquiry into his murder
Published 13/01/2012 | 11:41
THE FAMILY of murdered solicitor Pat Finucane has been granted a judicial review of the decision not to hold a public inquiry into his death.
A Belfast High Court hearing in May will last for three days.
Mr Finucane was killed at his north Belfast home by loyalist gunmen in 1989.
Prime Minister David Cameron earlier this year accepted there had been collusion in the killing.
Mr Finucane's widow Geraldine said: "I am very pleased that he has granted us leave to go forward to a full judicial review hearing and I think the significant aspect of it was that it was completely unopposed (by the Government).
"It was surprising but a very pleasant surprise for a change."
High Court judge Mr Justice Ben Stephens granted the review.
Mr Cameron announced last autumn that instead of ordering a public inquiry he was appointing lawyer Sir Desmond de Silva to consider evidence in the case. The decision has been denounced by Mr Finucane's family.
Mrs Finucane said she would not be co-operating with Sir Desmond but welcomed the three-day legal challenge planned for May 9.
She said they were promised a public inquiry by the Government.
"For the British Government to turn around and unilaterally decide to change that and say that a review of the papers is the way forward left us no other way to do this than to push for a judicial review," she said.
She added: "It is only the start but it was unopposed and we will then move forward to a full hearing."
There was a short hearing in the High Court today, attended by Mrs Finucane and family as well as solicitor Peter Madden.
Paul McLaughlin, a lawyer for Mr Cameron, said they were not opposing the application for a review.
Judge Stephens said: "I grant leave to apply for judicial review."
Papers in the case have to be filed by March 16. There will be a further review on March 23.
Sinn Fein North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly welcomed the decision by the High Court.
"Both the British and Irish Governments agreed at the Weston Park talks to set up an inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane, widely suspected to have been a victim of British State collusion," he said.
"By refusing to have the inquiry, British Prime Minister David Cameron is in breach of an inter-governmental agreement and he needs to be pressed relentlessly to honour this obligation.
"It is way past the time that we had a judicial inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane and hopefully today's decision is a step in that direction."