Charges against Stobie changed
The murder charge against loyalist William Stobie in connection with the killings of leading human rights solicitor Pat Finucane was reduced at the Belfast Magistrates Court on Wednesday, 30 August.
Stobie, a self-confessed RUC informer, is now charged with ``aiding and abetting'' the killing. Another charge of murdering 19-year-old Belfast student Adam Lambert was similarly reduced.
Stobie was arrested last year as part of the reopening inquiry into collusion between the RUC and loyalists.
``What has transpired hasn't surprised us,'' said a source close to the Finucane family. ``It was an inevitable decision facing the Crown given what they know about Stobie's role in the two murders.''
At an earlier hearing, a prosecution lawyer claimed there was evidence Stobie told a witness he had supplied the guns and driven the getaway vehicle when Lambert was killed.
Stobie was released from the City Magistrates Court on continuing bail and will stand trial at the Crown Court later this year.
This latest development comes as the British government is facing immense pressure to open an independent judicial inquiry into Pat Finucane's assassination. In February, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern added his name to the long list of human rights organisations and individuals calling for an inquiry. The United Nations again this year recommended the opening of such an inquiry.