A decision taken by the Crown Public Prosecution Service that no members of the British Crown forces are to be charged over collusion investigations has been condemned in the strongest terms by human rights groups and families of the victims.

After almost two decades of investigations, estimated to have cost up to 20 million pounds, not one member of the RUC/PSNI or British Army is to face prosecution, despite former London police chief John Stevens publicly stating that he had uncovered evidence of Crown force collusion in multiple murders.

The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) announced on Monday that no serving or retired member of the Crown forces is to face charges arising out of the three separate investigations carried out by Mr Stevens.

It is four years since Stevens confirmed he had uncovered evidence of collusion in the murder of Protestant teenager Adam Lambert, who was shot dead by the UDA in mistake for a Catholic while working on a building site in north Belfast in November 1987.

Crown force collusion was also acknowledged in the murder of Belfast defence lawyer Pat Finucane in 1989.

The decision means senior members in the RUC/PSNI police and MI5 military intelligence will not stand trial for their involvement in the Finucane or Lambert murders or any other case investigated by Stevens.

Mr Finucane’s eldest son, Michael, said his family was “extremely angry and disappointed”.

Mr Finucane said the announcement “sinks like a heavy stone into the mire of collusion and cover-up, taking with it any hope that the criminal justice system in Northern Ireland will deliver for victims where the State’s own agents and agencies are concerned.”

Mr Finucane said his family would not be deterred by the decision but would “continue to press for a fully independent public inquiry into the murder and all of the surrounding circumstances.”

“We look to Gordon Brown to deliver on the commitment made by the British Government to hold an independent inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the murder of Pat Finucane”

“Only an independent public inquiry can satisfy the concerns of my family and the wider public about the existence of collusion between the British army, the RUC and security services in the murder of Pat Finucane and many others.”


Amnesty International, said the decision “represents an indictment of the administration of criminal justice in Northern Ireland and the prosecutorial authorities, in particular.”

The Human Rights Commission, which is seeking an “urgent meeting” with the prosecution service, said the decision “will further undermine public confidence in the criminal justice system.”

“The accountability and transparency of the State in its ability to investigate itself is now in question,” it added.

The 39-year-old lawyer was shot dead in February 1989 in front of his family when gunmen burst into his north Belfast home. All of the members of the UDA paramilitary death squad which carried out the attack were later revealed as British agents.

Amid demands for incoming British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to draw a line under the affair by announcing a fully independent tribunal, the SDLP MLA Alban Maginness branded it a bad day for justice.

He claimed: “This decision is frankly and literally outrageous, it is the mother of all cover-ups.”

Sinn Féin’s Alex Maskey called the decision an “absolute scandal”.

“People are being told that while the State was involved in the murders of their loved ones, no prosecution will be taken.

“It shows the British Government is incapable of facing up to their own responsibilities in all of this.”


Meanwhile, it was revealed that weapons supposedly deactivated after being received by RUC handlers following the 1989 killing were used in further paramilitary murders.

One of the guns, a Browning pistol, was later used to shoot dead Catholic man Aidan Wallace in west Belfast’s Devenish Arms bar in December 1991.

Less than three months later, in south Belfast, the same weapon was used in the Sean Graham’s bookmakers massacre, when UDA gunmen shot dead five people.

The PSNI has confirmed one of its members involved in the scandal was still with the force, although currently suspended.

The Crown prosecutors said no senior police officer should face prosecution over the handing over of weapons because they could not be identified.


Maria Sykes, whose 18-year-old brother Peter was among those killed at Sean Graham bookmakers, said she was “sick with anger” at the decisions.

Ms Sykes said the victims’ families would now take civil actions.

“We are so angry that the RUC is just allowed to get away with handing guns to loyalists who go out and kill six people and the RUC officers who allowed it don’t even get as much as a slap on the wrist,” she said.

“It’s as if my brother’s life or the lives of the other men killed don’t matter.

“If this was anywhere else in the world the chief constable of the day would have gone to jail and the government would have resigned in disgrace.

“But here just because it’s a few Catholics they think it doesn’t count.

“Well I’m telling them my brother and those other men did count and if we have to go to the ends of the earth we will get proper justice for them.”

Pat Finucane’s son John described the PPS decisions as “weak” and “cowardly”.

“This is an insult to my family and proves that we were right all along in refusing to have anything to do with what has been proven to be a charade from start to finish,” he said.

“It is notable that the DPP feels himself unable to use certain intelligence records as evidence, a clear indication that the interests of [British] national security remain more important than the human lives.

“We have fought for nearly 20 years for a proper independent, judicial inquiry into my father’s murder and we will not accept anything less now.”

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© 2007 Irish Republican News