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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 June, 2003, 16:07 GMT 17:07 UK
Inquiry judge's Dublin move
Maryann Maguire
BBC Northern Ireland reporter

The retired Canadian judge appointed by London and Dublin to examine some of Northern Ireland's most controversial murders says he is on target to finish his reports by the autumn.

Speaking publicly for the first time since his appointment, Justice Peter Cory said he had finished probing four of six cases, including those into the killings of Catholic solicitors Pat Finucane and Rosemary Nelson.

Judge Cory
Judge Cory about to start two inquiries in Irish Republic
"One of the first commitments I made to the governments as well as the families was that there would be no delays because of my work", he told me at his London offices.

"I had hoped to have the reports finished by October and I will."

He also announced he was moving his inquiries to Dublin to investigate allegations of collusion between the Garda Siochana (Irish police) and the IRA in the killings of Lord Justice and Lady Gibson and RUC Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Bob Buchanan.

Mr Cory was appointed by the British and Irish Governments following political talks at Weston Park in May 2001 to investigate eight killings linked to allegations of collusion by the security forces with paramilitaries on both sides of the Irish border.

He undertook the task of examining the allegations to decide whether the killings merited full public inquiries.

I believe that I have seen everything that is relevant to the cases I have worked on
Judge Peter Cory
The two governments say they will make the reports public and are committed to holding a public inquiry into any of the deaths if the judge recommends it in his final reports.

The former Canadian supreme court judge, backed by a Canadian counsel and a team of seven English police officers, has been ploughing through thousands of documents in London and Belfast.

"I think that so far I have had co-operation. I believe that I have seen everything that is relevant to the cases I have worked on.

"These might be statements or other documents, relating to investigations or policy issues."

All his reports are being kept in a secure location by the Canadian authorities.

Although it was first believed that Mr Cory would produce a single report, it has emerged that he will report separately to the two governments.

He is planning to present reports on the murders of Pat Finucane, Rosemary Nelson, Robert Hamill and Billy Wright to UK Prime Minister Tony Blair.

He will make separate recommendations to the Irish prime minister on the murders of the two RUC officers and Lord Justice and Lady Gibson.

Mr Cory also believes that the recent developments in the Stevens investigation will not affect his overall recommendations.

'Different roles'

"My job was to determine if there was collusion. The Stevens investigations, all three of them, were to determine if there was sufficient evidence to bring about prosecutions.

"The investigation into the murder is continuing. So they are different roles and different results in the end."

Sir John Stevens, who is leading an investigation into the murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane, issued his third report last month.

He also indicated that up to 20 files were being prepared for consideration by the DPP.

"So far I have not seen anything that I hadn't known about at the time I finished my report back in December", said Mr Cory.

The documents are understood to have given Sir John several new and major lines of enquiry and led to the delay of the latest report.

The Stevens team is currently examining these documents and investigating whether their concealment was sanctioned.

Judge Cory said he took the job on the basis of three commitments made by the British and Irish Governments.

Reports 'lengthy'

"They told me they would fully co-operate, abide by my recommendations and make my reports public.

"The reports are lengthy because you have to demonstrate why you're reaching the conclusions you do."

A number of families have also expressed concerns that his work is being too closely monitored and controlled by the authorities.

"That is a mistaken impression. From the very start I told the government that when I delivered the reports to them I would notify the families as well so that they would know the very day and hour they were delivered and could take whatever action they deemed appropriate at the time.

"Everyone will know it is out in the open. I am not part of anything and people just better wait to read the reports."

Asked whether he would take on the role again he said: "No, I wouldn't. A great deal of work has been put into these reports. This is just about as hard as I have ever worked in my life. No-one minds a good day's work but I have never worked on a Sunday before.

"It grinds you down and I just would not take it on again.

"I'll be very glad when it's done and the reports are made public. And then they will speak for themselves."




SEE ALSO:
Unresolved deaths: A question of collusion?
02 Aug 01  |  Northern Ireland
Judge meets murder victims' families
05 Jul 02  |  Northern Ireland
Judge to examine collusion claims
30 May 02  |  Northern Ireland
Finucane family concern at inquiry
12 Feb 03  |  Northern Ireland



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