Northern Ireland

Pat Finucane murder: Widow loses inquiry challenge against PM

Pat Finucane Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption Solicitor Pat Finucane was shot dead by loyalists at his north Belfast home in 1989 but UK state agents colluded in his murder, according to a 2012 government-ordered review

The family of murdered solicitor Pat Finucane have lost a legal challenge against the prime minister over his refusal to hold a public inquiry.

The lawyer was shot dead by loyalists in 1989 and his family have campaigned for an independent inquiry to examine UK state collusion in the murder.

His widow Geraldine launched a judicial review against David Cameron at the High Court in Belfast.

The Finucanes expressed disappointment but are to continue their campaign.

Mr Cameron agreed to a legal review of the case by Sir Desmond de Silva QC in 2012, but the prime minister stopped short of setting up a public inquiry, which angered Mr Finucane's family.

Although the High Court judge rejected the legal challenge over the need for a public inquiry on Friday, he also criticised the ongoing investigation into the killing.

Mr Justice Stephens said the government had not fully met its obligations to conduct a prompt investigation of new evidence uncovered by the de Silva report more than two years ago.

He invited lawyers from both sides back to court next week to discuss the matter.

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Media captionPat Finucane's son, John, said the failed judicial review was "not a wasted journey"

Speaking outside court, Mr Finucane's son, John, said: "Initially we are disappointed that there has been a decision not to hold an inquiry.

"I think there are parts of the judgement that are very encouraging - he has found that the murder as we stand remains to have been investigated properly. He's invited further argument on that. We are due to sit again on Tuesday."

John Finucane said the failed judicial review was "not a wasted journey" and added that their campaign had proved "very fruitful".

"We don't have an inquiry but I would disagree we aren't getting anywhere. What the public know is an absolute ocean away from what we knew 25 years ago," the victim's son said.

The murder of the high-profile solicitor remains one of the most controversial killings of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

The 39-year-old was shot dead in front of his wife and their children in the kitchen of their north Belfast home in February 1989.

The shooting was carried out by the loyalist paramilitary group, the Ulster Freedom Fighters, but his family have led a long campaign in a bid to expose the full extent of the state's involvement in the killing.

Image caption The Finucane family told reporters they needed time to study the judgement in detail

Sir Desmond de Silva carried out a legal review of documents in the murder case and in a report published in 2012, he confirmed that UK state agents had colluded in the loyalist murder.

Sir Desmond found that, while there were "shocking levels of state collusion" in facilitating the killing, there was no "overarching state conspiracy".

At the time, Mrs Finucane dismissed his report as a "whitewash" that had blamed only "dead witnesses" and "defunct agencies".

"Serving personnel and active state departments appear to have been excused," the widow said in 2012.

"The dirt has been swept under the carpet without any serious attempt to lift the lid on what really happened to Pat and so many others."

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