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Friday, 5 July, 2002, 13:34 GMT 14:34 UK
Judge meets murder victims' families
Pat Finucane was murdered in 1989
Pat Finucane was murdered at his home in 1989
Relatives of those killed in some of Northern Ireland's most controversial murders have met the retired Canadian judge who will examine the cases.

Peter Cory was appointed by the British and Irish Governments to investigate killings involving allegations of collusion by the security forces with paramilitaries on both sides of the Irish border.

Mr Cory will determine if there should be public inquiries into the murders.

It is understood he will first look into the death of Catholic solicitor Pat Finucane, who was shot dead by the Ulster Defence Association in his north Belfast home in February 1989.

Justice Peter deCarteret Cory: Asked to carry out examinations
Justice Peter deCarteret Cory: Met families

The judge is also to investigate the deaths of Lord Justice Maurice and Lady Cecily Gibson, who were killed by the IRA in April 1987.

He will also look at the deaths of Loyalist Volunteer Force leader Billy Wright who was killed by republicans in the Maze Prison in December 1997, and Catholic solicitor Rosemary Nelson, who was killed by loyalists in March 1999.

The murders of two senior RUC officers, Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Bob Buchanan, who were allegedly set up for an IRA ambush by a renegade police officer in the Republic of Ireland, will also be examined.

And he will look into the murder of Robert Hamill, a 25-year-old Catholic, who died after being attacked by loyalists in Portadown, County Armagh in 1997.

It is understood Mr Cory met representatives of the Finucane, Hamill, Wright and Nelson families over two days in Dublin this week.

Other meetings are also believed to have been held before Mr Cory returned to Canada on Friday.

Pat Finucane: Shot dead at his home
Pat Finucane: Allegations of collusion surround murder

It is understood the judge will have offices in Belfast, Dublin and London and that he will begin his full investigations within a month.

In June, the House of Commons was told that a public inquiry into the murder of Mr Finuance would begin if recommended by Mr Cory.

Since 1989, Sir John Stevens, who is now commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, has been investigating the allegation that shadowy elements within military intelligence and the RUC Special Branch were colluding with loyalist assassination squads.

His findings, which will include a report on the Finucane murder, are expected in the Autumn.

The appointment of Judge Cory fulfils a commitment made by the British and Irish Governments following the Weston Park talks last summer.

See also:

24 Jun 02 | N Ireland
24 Jun 02 | N Ireland
19 Jun 02 | N Ireland
18 Jun 02 | Panorama
26 Nov 01 | N Ireland
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