Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Judge will rule on disclosure of notes to Finucanes

Government meeting notes will be handed to a High Court judge next week for a decision on whether they should be disclosed to the family of murdered solicitor Pat Finucane.

Mr Justice Stephens is to examine a series of documents at a closed hearing in Belfast on Tuesday. With a lawyer for the Government stressing yesterday that some of the material would have to be returned immediately after inspection due to security issues, the judge indicated he could give a decision "fairly rapidly".

Mr Finucane's widow Geraldine wants full access to the material, including minutes from Cabinet meetings and correspondence between Downing Street officials, as part of her legal challenge to the refusal to order a full, independent inquiry into the 1989 assassination.

A review carried out by lawyer Sir Desmond de Silva QC confirmed State agents were involved in her husband's murder and that it should have been prevented.

However, he concluded there had been no overarching State conspiracy in the shooting, carried out by the loyalist UFF at the solicitor's north Belfast home. Earlier this week Mr Justice Stephens held that Mrs Finucane's legal team had established sufficient necessity.

Mr Justice Stephens insisted he would like to be given everything at the same time in a courtroom environment.

Counsel for Mrs Finucane consented to the hearing taking place without their presence.

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