Northern Ireland
Cory report into the murders of Pat Finucane, Robert Hamill, Rosemary Nelson and Billy Wright published


The Cory Report (link)
British Government's response to the report (link)
Response from Finucane family will be posted on: Pat Finucane Centre site and below

Commentary from the Committee on the Adminstration of Justice (Belfast)


FINDINGS OF JUDGE CORY
1st April 04

PAT FINUCANE

They (FRU) were aware that Nelson was a central player within the UDA, and that he had considerable influence in directing targeting operations. They were also aware that Nelson often played a direct and active role in reconnaissance missions. The provision of information to Nelson in these circumstances may be seen as evidence of collusive behaviour that had the potential to facilitate the deadly operations planned by the UDA. (page 102)

The documents I have examined disclose that Army handlers and their superiors turned a blind eye to the criminal acts of Nelson. In doing this they established a pattern of behaviour that could be characterised as collusive. (page 103)

Similarly, they indicate that SB rarely took any steps to document threats or prevent attacks by the UDA, whereas pro-active steps were routinely taken in connection with PIRA and other Republican threats. The failure to issue warnings to person targeted by the UDA often led to tragic consequences. This is indicative of attitudes with RUC SB. (page 105)

If criminal prosecutions are to proceed the practical effect might be to delay the public inquiry for at least two years. The Finucane family will be devastated. A large part of the Northern Ireland community will be frustrated. Myths and misconceptions will proliferate and hopes of peace and understanding will be eroded. This may be one of the rare situations where a public inquiry will of greater benefit to a community than prosecutions.

ROBERT HAMILL

Police officers must not act collusively by ignoring or turning a blind eye to the wrongful acts of their officers or of their servants or agents. Nor can the police act collusively by supplying information to assist those committing wrongful acts or by encouraging them to commit wrongful acts. First and foremost the actions of Reserve Constable B, if established, are capable of being found to constitute the most flagrant type of collusion. His actions did not constitute the simple turning of a blind eye. Rather they could be found to be carefully planned and premeditated actions taken to frustrate a murder investigation and to protect or to exonerate an individual who might have been guilty of murder. Steps should have been taken to obtain the clothing of Robert Hamill and those identified as the scene as taking part in the assault&the failure to take steps may indicate a bias in the police force that could amount to institutional collusion.

ROSEMARY NELSON

I am satisfied that there is evidence of collusion by Governmental Agencies in the murder of Rosemary Nelson that warrants holding a public inquiry (page 71)

RUC officers are alleged to have made highly demeaning and threatening remarks about Rosemary Nelson while questioning her clients. Among other things, they are said to have questioned her morality, made insulting sexual innuendos, described her facial scarring in cruel and debasing terms, belittled her ability as a lawyer and, perhaps most disturbingly, to have threatened her life. It is for a public inquiry to determine whether or not these remarks were made. If it is found that they were, this could constitute strong evidence of collusion. (page 66)

The NIOs mishandling of documents that were directly pertinent and vitally important to the safety of Rosemary Nelson may also indicate a level of neglect or disregard that could be found to be collusive. (page 69)

[The NIOs] failure to take any action to protect Rosemary Nelson could be found to be troubling when it is considered against the background of the earlier murder of Patrick Finucane. By disregarding a significant body of evidence of threats against Rosemary Nelson, it could be found that the NIO engaged in conduct that was collusive in nature. (page 70)

BILLY WRIGHT

This case will turn primarily on the response to these questions. First, and most importantly, did the Northern Ireland Prison Service turn a blind eye to the very dangerous situation they knew or ought to have known would arise from billeting the INLA and LVF prisoners in the same H block in the Maze? Similarly, did another Governmental agency fail to advise or supply to the Prison Service information they had received and considered reasonably reliable which indicated that a dangerous situation had arisen or was arising in the prison? (Page 78)

One or two of the incidents that occurred on the day of the murder may, in themselves, have little significance. On the other hand when they are all considered together the resulting effect may be sufficient to take them out of the realm of coincidence and make them components of a plan to murder Billy Wright that was collusive in nature. (page 89)

There is, in my view, sufficient evidence of acts or omissions that could, after hearing the testimony of witnesses, coupled with a review of the relevant documents result in a finding that there had been acts of collusion by Prison Services, their directors, officers or employees. (page 89)

Press release from the Pat Finucane family



PRESS RELEASE, 1 APRIL 2004

Finucane family responds to Paul Murphys statement today in Parliament: This is a very disappointing but expected statement. The British
Government continue to cover up the truth about the death of my husband with their delaying tactics. We did not ask for the Stevens investigation. We did not ask for Justice Cory to prepare a report and we certainly have never asked for prosecutions. We have always said that these were delaying tactics and the delay continues.

But the campaign for a public inquiry will also continue.

Paul Murphy quoted Justice Cory as saying ... Society must be assured that those who commit a crime will be prosecuted and if found guilty punished.. However he did not refer to the fact that Justice Cory also said in his report that this may be one of the rare situations where a public inquiry will be of greater benefit to a community than prosecutions.

Justice Corys report confirms that there was a State policy of targeting and assassination. The public should read the details in his report. It is unbelievable but the official documents that he examined show that it is all true.

David Trimble made very hurtful and untrue statements today which he should be ashamed of. He must prove what he says. His accusations were
designed to signal to a small section of the public that my husbands murder was justified but David Trimble thinks that the public are naïve and they will believe his unfounded, unproved, and cowardly accusations. He knows that my husband is not here to refute these allegations. I have heard these lies before. A public inquiry will give him the opportunity to repeat the statements he made today and I look forward to the day when he is forced to publicly retract them.

Justice Cory stated that it was my husbands role as a solicitor which led to his murder. Trimbles statement in Parliament today was not only false but it is also something which was contradicted by Justice Cory himself and by the RUC files which he examined.

Justice Cory specifically emphasised the statement of the presiding Coroner at Pat's Inquest who said: The police refute the claim that Mr Finucane was a member of PIRA. He was just another law-abiding citizen going about his professional duties in a professional manner. He was well known both inside and outside the legal profession. He was regarded in police circles as very professional and he discharged his duties with vigour and professionalism.

As Justice Cory said as a result of the cowardly actions of Pat's murderers I have been deprived of the love and companionship of a good husband, his children of his care and guidance and Northern Ireland of his courage and skill as a lawyer.

1 April 2004

Pat Finucane Centre, Press Release, 1st April 2004

The Pat Finucane Centre condemns the failure of the British Government to establish an independent inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane. The Cory Collusion Inquiry Report makes clear that the need for such an inquiry in Pat Finucanes case. The British and Irish governments guaranteed at the Weston Park talks that a public inquiry would be established if Cory recommended this.

The Pat Finucane Centre welcomes in principle the announcement of public inquiries into the murders of Rosemary Nelson, Robert Hamill and Billy
Wright. The announcement is recognition of the longstanding efforts of all the families and their supporters in human rights organisations and different political parties for truth and justice in each of these cases.

Spokesperson for the Pat Finucane Centre said:

It is important that these inquiries are now established immediately and in a manner with which the families are satisfied. It is vital that these inquiries are independent in nature and that the commitment to time-limit and cost-limit the inquiries is not used as an excuse to continue to cover-up the crimes of commission and omission involved in the different cases. It is important that we learn the lessons of the two Bloody Sunday inquiries in particular are learned before any new inquiries are established. The inquiries must establish the truth of each case whatever embarrassment this causes to the British state, the British Army, the RUC/PSNI and the British security services. The future of the Irish peace process and the Good Friday Agreement depends on a successful resolution to the profound concerns that exist in each of these cases.

The PFC endorses Judge Corys analysis that if criminal prosecutions are to proceed the practical effect might be to delay the public inquiry for at least two years. The Finucane family will be devastated. A large part of the Northern Ireland community will be frustrated. Myths and misconceptions will proliferate and hopes of peace and understanding will be eroded. This may be one of the rare situations where a public inquiry will be of greater benefit to a community than prosecutions.


The spokesperson went on to say:

We recognise a specific obligation for justice in the cases of our friends Pat Finucane and Rosemary Nelson. While any murder has terrible consequences for the individuals and families involved, the murder of leading human rights defenders has additional and specific implications for the defence of human rights a concern that is at the very heart of democracy, peace and the rule of law. It is poignantly ironic that Rosemary Nelson was one of those human rights defenders who had campaigned most actively for a public inquiry into the murder of her colleague Pat Finucane. The widespread concern in the international human rights community around the deaths of Pat and Rosemary was testament to how important these tragic events were
both nationally and internationally. The British Government must deliver justice to these human rights defenders if it is to have any credibility in its stated support for human rights and democracy. If they wish to maintain any credibility in the international human rights community at all, they should establish an independent public inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucance immediately.

For further comment ring Dr Robbie McVeigh, spokesperson for the Pat Finucane Centre on: 07796277231


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