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Court ruling hailed by Finucane family

February 27, 2019

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Geraldine Finucane with her sons speaking in London after the court ruling. Photo by Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire.

 

By Ciara Quinn

 

Belfast — The son of murdered human rights solicitor Pat Finucane says the family “have won” and are “vindicated” following the UK Supreme Court’s ruling that none of the inquiries into the West Belfast lawyer’s murder have been capable of establishing the full facts surrounding his death.

38-year-old Mr. Finucane was brutally shot dead in front of his wife Geraldine and their three children on February 12, 1989 at their Fortwilliam Drive home by the UFF as they sat down to Sunday dinner.

Mr. Finucane was shot 14 times. Mrs. Finucane was also wounded in the foot during the attack which was witnessed by their children.

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Two weeks ago was the thirtieth anniversary of the murder. Today, his family were in London for the Supreme Court ruling.

While the Supreme Court recommended a public inquiry into Mr. Finucane’s murder not take place, the court ruled that an inquiry compliant with human rights law had not yet taken place.

Taking to social media site Twitter as the announcement was made, Mr. Finucane’s son John said “We have won!”

He added: “The British Government now knows that it cannot conceal the truth any longer. Today they have been told this by the highest court in the land. It is time for the murder of Pat Finucane to be properly and publicly investigated in a public inquiry. Nothing less will suffice.”

Judges also said a previous undertaking given to Mrs. Finucane for an inquiry was “clear and unambiguous.”

She had a “legitimate expectation” a public inquiry would be held into his death, they said.

In his 2012 review, Sir Desmond de Silva QC said the state had facilitated Mr. Finucane’s killing and made relentless efforts to stop the killers being caught. However, his report concluded there had been “no overarching state conspiracy.”

Mr. Finucane’s family argued that the report left many questions unanswered.

The Supreme Court judges said that none of the inquiries into Mr. Finucane’s death, including the review carried out by Sir Desmond de Silva, had the capability of “establishing all the salient facts” about his killing, or the liability of those who were responsible for his death.

Speaking outside the Supreme Court Geraldine Finucane said it was a “historic moment.”

Peter Madden, of Madden and Finucane solicitors said that “only a judicial public inquiry can deliver the objective, which is to uncover the truth of what actually happened.”

In February, 2017, the Court of Appeal in Belfast dismissed an appeal against the decision not to hold a public inquiry, ruling that the government had acted lawfully.

Relatives for Justice Deputy Director Andrée Murphy described the ruling as a “good day for victims, but with interesting implications.”

She said: “Rights and law have a strength and depth that political agreements do not have. Article Two obligations remain constant.”

Geraldine Finucane said: “The British government now knows that it cannot conceal the truth any longer. They have now been told this by the highest court in the land. It is time for the murder of Pat Finucane to be properly and publicly investigated in a public inquiry. Nothing less will suffice.”

 

 

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