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Last Updated: Friday, 11 June, 2004, 21:23 GMT 22:23 UK
Judge rules on Finucane documents
Pat Finucane
Legal issues will delay an inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane
A judge has ruled that the government must hand over documents on the killing of Pat Finucane to the murdered solicitor's family.

In a reserved judgement in the High Court on Friday, Mr Justice Gillen made a disclosure order relating to documents sent to the government by the team of investigators headed by Sir John Stevens.

Mr Finucane was shot by members of the loyalist Ulster Defence Association at his north Belfast home in 1989.

His widow Geraldine had taken the case, claiming that the government was deliberately trying to prevent a public inquiry into the murder.

The judge said an issue relevant to this was a minute of a meeting between the Stevens team and supporters of Mrs Finucane.

In the meeting, it was suggested that the Stevens inquiry was being encouraged to say there was a whole string of prosecutions in the pipeline and they were being used to try to block an inquiry.

Mr Justice Gillen said: "I consider that there is a clear risk of injustice not to say denial of the requirements of logic and fairness if these communications were not produced in the hope of establishing the true facts one way or another.


"I make this order not simply because the applicant (Mrs Finucane) would justifiably otherwise entertain a smouldering sense of injustice, but because it is necessary for the fair disposal of this case and justice requires that it be done."

Separate inquiries are be held into the murders of Rosemary Nelson, Robert Hamill and Billy Wright, following the recommendations of retired Canadian judge Peter Cory who examined alllegations of security force collusion.

The government insists a fourth inquiry into the killing of Mr Finucane will be delayed because a man is due to stand trial in September, charged with the murder.

Following the reserved judgement, counsel for the secretary of state was given until Tuesday to decide on an appeal.

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