The widow of murdered defence lawyer Pat Finucane has won permission at Belfast’s High Court to challenge the continuing failure of the British government to carry out an effective investigation.
Geraldine Finucane was granted leave to seek a judicial review as part of her ongoing fight to secure a public inquiry into her husband’s assassination in 1989.
In February last year, the Supreme Court held that previous inquiries into the murder did not meet human rights standards.
Mrs Justice Keegan ruled on Friday that Mrs Finucane has established an arguable case that the British government’s delay in taking action since then is unlawful. Proceedings will now advance to a full hearing later this year.
The judge said: “This is not a guarantee of success, but it’s clear to me and fairly obvious that there’s already a passage of time... that will require to be explained in evidence.”
Mr Finucane was killed by loyalist paramilitaries in collusion with British military intelligence. He was shot dead in front of his wife and three children at their north Belfast home in February 1989. His family have campaigned ever since for a full examination of Crown Force force collusion with the killers.
Lawyers for British Direct Ruler Julian Smith insisted he is committed to making a decision on their demands for a public inquiry as soon as possible.
During the judicial review hearing, a barrister for the Finucane family said they are being treated with contempt. He said that the level of delay since the Supreme Court reached its decision “beggars belief”.
Last weekend, Mrs Finucane said she has been left “frustrated and disappointed” after her latest meeting with the British government was postponed.
The postponement was due to Smith’s diary commitments, an official letter said.
Mrs Finucane said: “The latest delay leads me to the conclusion that this administration will be no different than previous ones, when it comes to honouring its responsibilities concerning British State involvement in the murder of my husband.”