THE retired Canadian judge who advised the British Government to hold an inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane seven years ago has expressed shock and disappointment at David Cameron’s rejection of the probe.
Mr Justice Peter Cory, who has examined all available evidence in a review ordered ten years ago under the Weston Park agreement, said he was sad that the best interests of all concerned would not appear to be served by the decision presented by Mr Cameron to the Finucane family on Tuesday.
And he warned that there would always be concerns and doubts about who was involved in the killing until there was a proper inquiry.
In 2004 the British government announced that it would establish a public inquiry into murder of Mr Finucane after Mr Justice Cory said he had found evidence of security force collusion in the solicitor’s murder.
After a lengthy stand-off between the Finucane family and the British Government over the framework of an inquiry – the Government wanted to use the 2005 Inquiries Act which allowed it to limit funding and access to evidence – the family believed they were close to a breakthrough after a series of private meetings with the Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson over the last 12 months.
The Finucanes were brought to Downing Street earlier this week, they believed to receive confirmation from Mr Cameron that he was granting an inquiry with no Government interference.
However instead Mr Cameron told them he would not allow any public inquiry and instead had asked a barrister to conduct a review of the papers.
The decision was criticised by the Irish government, the Labour party as well as Sinn Fein and the SDLP.
But speaking from his home in Canada last night Mr Justice Cory – who is believed to have seen more of the evidence in the Finucane case than anyone – added his criticism of the prime minister’s decision.
“I am very sorry to hear of the news that the Finucane family have not been given the public inquiry that I had recommended in 2004,” he said.
“I believe that there is a need for a public inquiry into the Finucane murder and that it would be helpful to all parties.
“I am very sorry that an inquiry is not going ahead.
“I had hoped and expected that my recommendations would have been implemented after all this time.
“I understand that there are times when a government needs to restrict an inquiry to protect national security but I felt that, even with such restrictions, an inquiry would have been allowed to go ahead.”
In 2005 Mr Justice Cory had accused the British government of “moving the goal posts” after it introduced legislation which would allow it to withhold evidence from any inquiry into the solicitor’s murder.
On the Prime Minister’s announcement of this week, Mr Justice Cory said:
“I certainly don’t see how that would satisfy the wishes of the Finucane family.
“Until there is a proper inquiry into Pat Finucane’s death there will always be concerns and doubts about who was involved.
“I am so sad that the best interests of all concerned do not appear to have been served by the decision not to grant an inquiry after all this time.”