Irish Republican News · November 24, 2003
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]

The publication of the Cory reports on British Crown force collusion with paramilitaries could be further delayed by legal injunctions.

The High Court in Belfast heard yesterday that the reports by retired Canadian Judge Peter Cory would be published by the end of the month.

There had been speculation that a censored version of the reports might be released after the families of four murder victims took the British government to court once again to establish why it has failed to publish the reports.

The eventual publication of the Cory reports killings will be ``light years away'' from what was promised, Sinn Féin has warned.

Judge Cory has already told the families that he has recommended that public inquiries be set up into the killings. The British government has reneged on a commitment in negotiations to act on the reports.

British officials said yesterday that all those named in the reports would be given access to the findings of retired Canadian Judge Peter Cory at least 24 hours before they were published.

In relation to the murder of Belfast defence lawyer Pat Finucane, that will include prior access being given to members of the British army's murderous Force Research Unit, the PSNI Special Branch and the UDA gunmen involved in the February 1989 killing.

This could lead to court injunctions preventing publication by those named.

It is understood that Belfast loyalist Ken Barrett, who is awaiting trial for Mr Finucane's murder, will also be given prior access to the report.

The British government has refused to publish the reports since October, citing alleged legal and national security implications. The Irish government has already published two reports in connection with Garda police in the 26 Counties, and has followed the recommendations for one inquiry.

In court Seamus Treacey QC questioned the decision to allow prior access to those named.

``It is difficult to understand how the court is being told the government is being very careful to minimise the chances of a challenge but also providing the report to those individuals who might challenge it. It is a rather curious contradiction,'' he said.

On Thursday British Direct Ruler Paul Murphy sent letters to the Finucane, Wright, Hamill and Nelson families telling them that they would have to sign confidentiality agreements before having access to the reports.

Mr Finucane's brother Martin last night challenged the British government to state whether any parts of Judge Cory's findings would be deleted from the final reports. But there was no response on the matter.

Meanwhile, he judicial review hearing by the four families is to proceed on April 2, during the Easter legal vacation.

Justice Gillen agreed with the Crown's legal team that ``justice would be better served'' if he had an opportunity to read the reports.

But he added that he was taking the unusual step on an Easter hearing because of the urgency and importance of the case.

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© 2003 Irish Republican News