Finucane documents for publication

Tue, Nov 13, 2012, 00:00

Highly classified documents will be included in the published report of a British government review of the murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane, it was revealed today.

Sir Desmond de Silva QC, the barrister who led the inquiry, said the disclosure was being made to ensure public confidence. He said: “The inclusion of a volume of normally highly classified documents is clearly an exceptional step for a review such as this to take.

“I decided that it was necessary to include these documents in view of the controversy surrounding this case and to ensure public confidence in my report.”

The £1.5 million review is due to be published in the week beginning December 10th.

Mr Finucane was shot in his north Belfast home by loyalist paramilitaries in 1989. The murder of the Catholic father of three was one of the most controversial of the Northern Ireland Troubles, with allegations the British state colluded to facilitate the killing.

British prime minister David Cameron has accepted collusion took place and has apologised to the Finucane family.

However, his refusal to hold a full public inquiry into the murder - instead opting for the legal review - angered Mr Finucane’s relatives, who subsequently launched a bid to challenge the decision in the courts.

There is nothing in the de Silva report to endanger the lives of individuals or put national security at risk, Northern Ireland secretary Theresa Villiers said today.

Sir Desmond added: “In view of the history of delays in independent reviews or inquiries such as this, I am pleased to say that my report has been produced on time and on budget.”

Ms de Villiers said the report has not been shown to her or any other member of the British government or officials, except the members of the checking team.

The Northern Ireland secretary stated that, as with the publication of earlier reports such as the Bloody Sunday Inquiry, she intended to give advance sight to interested parties, their legal representatives and some members of both houses of parliament.