Death of Judge Peter Cory

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The former Canadian Supreme court judge who led an investigation into allegations of British state collusion with unionist paramilitary death squads has died. He passed away in Canada on Tuesday aged 94.

Peter Cory investigated a series of killings during the conflict including the 1989 murder of Belfast defence lawyer Pat Finucane. His recommendation for a public inquiry into the lawyer’s assassination has yet to be implemented by the British government.

The Cory Collusion Inquiry reports were published in 2004. Among them were investigations into the killing of Catholic man Robert Hamill, who was beaten to death in Portadown in 1997, and the assassination of human rights lawyer Rosemary Nelson, who died after a bomb exploded under her car in 1999.

Sinn Féin MP John Finucane paid tribute to Mr Cory.

“On the back of his 2004 report into the murder of my father, Mr Cory confirmed the allegations of collusion, and recommended that the British government should hold a full public inquiry,” he said.

“It has further come to light that MI5 attempted to sabotage and destroy his investigation, but thanks to Judge Cory’s foresight in having back-up files, they were ultimately unsuccessful.”

Mr Finucane pointed to the fact that, of all the cases, no inquiry has been held into his father’s murder.

“Of the six cases examined, he recommended inquiries into five,” he said. “Of those five, only the case of Pat Finucane remains outstanding. Unfortunately, his recommendation for a public inquiry continues to be ignored by the British government, a position he was most critical of.”

He paid tribute to Justice Cory for the work that he has done. “My thoughts are with his friends, family and colleagues at this sad and difficult time.”

Relatives for Justice chief executive Mark Thompson also praised the late judge. “Justice Cory was a man of significance and integrity. His service to truth and justice in Ireland will never be forgotten. His refusal to be used as a puppet by the British Government in the case of Pat Finucane was exemplary.”

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