Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Judge to rule if Finucanes can see Government notes

Pat Finucane
Pat Finucane

A High Court judge is to examine Government notes of meetings before deciding whether they should be disclosed to the family of murdered Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane.

Mr Justice Stephens ruled yesterday that he should first inspect a series of documents and emails being sought as part of a legal challenge to the refusal to order a full, independent inquiry into the 1989 assassination.

Confidentiality issues will not make them immune from disclosure, he pointed out.

The murdered lawyer's widow Geraldine wants full access to the material, including minutes from Cabinet meetings and correspondence between Downing Street officials.

A review carried out by lawyer Sir Desmond de Silva QC has confirmed agents of the State were involved in the murder and that it should have been prevented.

However, it concluded there had been no overarching State conspiracy in the shooting, carried out by the UFF at the solicitor's north Belfast home.

Mrs Finucane claimed it was a sham and a whitewash.

Delivering judgment, Mr Justice Stephens held that Mrs Finucane's legal team had established sufficient necessity. He said: “I direct that I should receive and inspect the outstanding documents, so that I may decide whether disclosure would give sufficient extra assistance to the applicant's case, over and above the material that has already been furnished.”

Further submissions are to be made on any redactions required should he ultimately decide the material should be handed over.

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