Murphy under pressure over inquiry refusal

The widow of murdered defence lawyer Pat Finucane yesterday accused British Direct Ruler Paul Murphy of trying to block a public inquiry into his death.

The charge was made in new papers supporting Geraldine Finucane’s application for a judicial review of the British government’s decision to postpone an inquiry into the 1980 murder.

Mrs Finucane is seeking a High Court order to compel the British government to establish a public inquiry without further delay.

An inquiry was recommended by retired Canadian judge Peter Cory, who found evidence of collusion in the case between British Crown forces and loyalist death squads.

But Mr Murphy told Parliament that the inquiry was being delayed until the criminal justice system had been exhausted.

Justice Gillen told counsel for Mr Murphy that he required a clear indication as to whether it is intended to hold an inquiry, irrespective of timing.

The judge adjourned the hearing until next Monday when he will rule on the admissibility of an amended statement filed by Mrs Finucane’s lawyers.

In it she accused Mr Murphy of “bad faith” in refusing to establish an inquiry and alleged “his expressed reason is not the true reason” and he was “party to an attempt to block a public inquiry.”

Mrs Finucane also claimed that Mr Murphy erred in law in holding there was a requirement to wait until criminal proceedings were completed.

The British government has come under renewed pressure to hold a public inquiry after Canadian politicians signed a petition calling for a probe.

Twelve Canadian MPs including the parliamentary leader of the Bloc Quebecois, Conservatives, Liberals and Democrats have put their name to the petition and a letter to British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

An independent international inquiry would “help remove this barrier on the road to peace”, they wrote.

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