A retired Canadian judge is halfway through his examination of some of Northern Ireland's most controversial murders, it has emerged.
Peter Cory is examining the need for public inquiries into the murders
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.
The former Canadian supreme court judge is determining the need for public inquiries into the murders, including Catholic solicitors Pat Finucane and Rosemary Nelson.
The government is committed to holding a public inquiry into any of the deaths if the judge recommends it in his final report, which is expected in the autumn.
He told Secretary of State Paul Murphy on Tuesday that he had finished his investigations into the cases of loyalist leader Billy Wright and Catholic man Robert Hamill.
Mr Hamill, 25, who died after being attacked by loyalists in Portadown, County Armagh in 1997.
Pat Finucane was murdered at his home in 1989
It has been claimed police in a nearby Land Rover failed to intervene.
Wright, leader of the loyalist paramilitary splinter group the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF), was shot dead while serving a sentence in the Maze prison on 27 December 1997.
His father, David, has been pressing for an inquiry into his son's murder.
He believes that the authorities colluded in the murder in the high security prison.
His son, from Portadown, founded the LVF after splitting away from the mainstream paramilitary Ulster Volunteer Force.
Mr Justice Cory's recommendations on these two cases are being kept at an unspecified location in Canada along with his findings on the Finucane case.
This comes ahead of the imminent publication of Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens' new report on the 1989 murder of Mr Finucane, which will be delivered to PSNI Chief Constable Hugh Orde on Thursday.
Since 1989, Sir John has been investigating the allegation that shadowy elements within military intelligence and the RUC Special Branch colluded with loyalist assassination squads in the murder of the solicitor at his north Belfast home.
I stand ready to provide any further assistance which Justice Cory requires as he pursues his investigation
Secretary of State
Mr Murphy said on Tuesday: "I am most grateful to Justice Cory for taking on this important task.
"I stand ready to provide any further assistance which he requires as he pursues his investigation."
Other remaining cases Mr Justice Cory will examine include the murders of Mrs Nelson, senior RUC officers Harry Breen and Bob Buchanan, and Lord Justice and Lady Gibson.
Catholic mother-of-three Rosemary Nelson died in a booby-trap car bomb near her home in Lurgan, County Armagh on 15 March 1999.
There have been allegations of security force collusion in the killing because of Mrs Nelson's role as solicitor for the nationalist Garvaghy Road Residents' Coalition and other high profile cases.
High-profile solicitor Rosemary Nelson was murdered
Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Bob Buchanan were allegedly set up for an IRA ambush by a renegade police officer in the Republic of Ireland.
Chief Supt Breen was the highest-ranking member of the Royal Ulster Constabulary to be killed by the IRA.
Lord Justice Maurice and Lady Cecily Gibson were killed by an IRA remote-controlled car bomb as they drove over the Irish border back into Northern Ireland after a holiday in April 1987.
As the judge's car reached the border, he stopped to shake hands with the Garda security escort who had completed their part of the assignment. The couple had only a short drive to meet the RUC escort to Belfast.
Some unionists have alleged that the responsibility lay with an IRA mole within the Irish Republic police force, the Garda Siochana.
The appointment of Judge Cory fulfilled a commitment made by the British and Irish Governments following the Weston Park talks in July 2001.