British govt challenged over inaction on Finucane case

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The widow of murdered Belfast defence lawyer Pat Finucane has lodged High Court proceedings in a fresh bid to get a public inquiry into her husband’s killing.

The 38-year-old was shot dead in front of his wife and children at his north Belfast home by a UDA hit squad, including British state agents, on February 12, 1989.

In February this year, the Supreme Court in London ruled there had been “no effective investigation” into Mr Finucane’s death, and previous inquiries had not complied with the family’s human rights.

A public inquiry was originally promised as a product of the Weston Park talks process in 2001, but was never delivered. A report commissioned by the British Prime Minister David Cameron in 2012 was seen as little more than a cover-up.

On Thursday, Geraldine Finucane lodged proceedings against the British Direct Ruler as a result of the ongoing failure to make a decision on how the British government should proceed in light of the declaration by the Supreme Court.

Mrs Finucane said: “In February, the Supreme Court ruled that all of the previous investigations into my husband’s murder were ineffective and did not meet the standards required by European human rights legislation, and that it was for the British Government to decide how to proceed in light of the Court’s judgment.

“Since that time two Secretaries of State have promised to meet with my family and our legal representatives in order to have meaningful discussions. No meetings have been offered and the Secretary of State has left me with no option but to bring court proceedings”.

Mrs Finucane’s lawyer Peter Madden said: “I can confirm that we have today lodged judicial review proceedings in the High Court. The government should move to announce a full independent public inquiry with the powers to compel the production of documents and the public examination of witnesses”.

Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on victims, Linda Dillon, said the British government must fulfil its obligations.

“Once again the family of Pat Finucane have been forced to take legal action against the British government over its failures to fully investigate his murder,” she said.

“In February the British Supreme Court ruled that previous investigations had been inadequate and the British government’s Secretary of State had agreed to meet with the Finucane family. This meeting has yet to happen.

“The British government must now live up to its commitments and obligations and announce a full independent public inquiry into the killing of Pat Finucane.”

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