A British government “security check” on a new report into the murder of Belfast defence lawyer Pat Finucane by British agents has further undermined the credibility of the document.
The newly-appointed British Direct Ruler Theresa Villiers said she had ordered the examination of the case review ahead of its publication to ensure it does not breach “national security”. Similar reviews have been held by British military intelligence (MI5) throughout the conflict to censor any embarrassing facts or details which might emerge.
Mr Finucane was gunned down in his north Belfast home by loyalist paramilitaries in 1989. Previous investigations have uncovered that most or all of the UDA death squad which carried out the assassination were agents of the British Crown.
The murder of the Catholic father-of-three was one of the most controversial of the conflict. British Prime Minister David Cameron has accepted collusion took place and has apologised to the Finucane family.
But his refusal to hold a full public inquiry into the murder - instead opting for a “legal review” - angered the Finucane family, who subsequently launched a bid to challenge the decision in the courts.
Mr Finucane’s son John yesterday said his family never had confidence in the review and the government’s decision to subject it to the so-called “security check” had emphasised their misgivings.
He said it was not appropriate for the state to control the information published in a report that was supposed to be examining its alleged role in a murder.
“This confirms again that the government, who on the one hand are being accused of collusion in the murder of my father and the prime minister has accepted that there was collusion, controls the flow of information - which I don’t think is credible,” he said.
“It is not a process that I think is independent. We think that process is best managed by a court.”
Mr Finucane again called for a full public inquiry to be held. “We did not have any faith to begin with,” he said of the review.
“I would be very surprised if this will put to bed the international concerns around the murder of my father when it is released. The government should deal with this appropriately and announce a full independent inquiry.”