Wednesday 21 March 2018

Legal challenge to Cameron's refusal to order public inquiry into Pat Finucane's murder with state support to open

Pat Finucane was shot at his north Belfast home by loyalist paramilitaries in 1989
Pat Finucane was shot at his north Belfast home by loyalist paramilitaries in 1989

Michael McHugh

A legal challenge to the 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 Ulster Defence Association (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 Sir 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 Ulster Defence Association (UDA) who were involved in the murder.

While Sir Desmond 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 Sir Desmond'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.

Press Association

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