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Cancelling Finucane inquiry 'was PM's right'

By Alan Erwin

Published 24/11/2016

Former Prime Minister David Cameron
Former Prime Minister David Cameron

Former Prime Minister David Cameron was legally entitled to rule out a public inquiry into the assassination of Belfast lawyer Pat Finucane after taking office, the Court of Appeal heard today.

Senior judges were told a "shifting public interest kaleidoscope" of costs and the passage of time gave him the right to reconsider pledges made by a previous Labour administration.

The murdered solicitor's widow, Geraldine Finucane, is seeking to overturn a finding that Mr Cameron acted lawfully in refusing to hold a public inquiry into the killing.

Mr Finucane was gunned down by loyalist paramilitaries at his north Belfast home in February 1989.

His family have campaigned for a full examination of alleged security force collusion with Mr Finucane's killers.

In 2011, Mr Cameron decided against ordering a public inquiry, and instead commissioned QC Sir Desmond de Silva to review all documents relating to the case and produce a narrative of what happened.

Sir Desmond's report confirmed agents of the State were involved in the murder and that it should have been prevented.

However, it also concluded there had been no overarching State conspiracy.

The Finucane family rejected the findings as a whitewash and accused the Government of unlawfully reneging on previous commitments.

Pledges to set up a tribunal, based on the recommendation of retired Canadian judge Peter Cory, were made by the former Labour government in 2004.

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