Judge to inspect British government notes in relation to Pat Finucane murder

Confidentiality issues will not make documents immune from disclosure, judge says

A High Court judge is to examine British government meeting notes 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 loyalist Ulster Freedom Fighters at the solicitor’s north Belfast home.


Although British prime minister David Cameron expressed shock at the level of collusion uncovered by Sir Desmond, Mrs Finucane claimed it was a sham and a whitewash.