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Thursday, September 9, 1999 Published at 11:31 GMT 12:31 UK

UK: Northern Ireland

Reporter seeks review of order on notes

Ed Moloney to ask for judicial review on notes handover order

A Northern Ireland journalist has been granted leave to apply for a judicial review of an order directing him to hand over interview notes to the police.

The notes belonging to newspaper reporter Ed Moloney, relate to interviews he carried out ten years ago with a man now accused of murdering solicitor Pat Finucane.

William Stobie is denying a charge of murdering Mr Finucane at his Belfast home.

Mr Moloney of the Dublin based Sunday Tribune, had until Thursday to surrender his notebook to the police team investigating the Finucane killing but a stay of the order has been granted until Tuesday.

Judge's warning

However, the judge warned against observers making the assumption that Mr Moloney would automatically be successful in his fight to preserve journalists' rights of confidentiality to sources.

He said it was important to "correct the popular misconception" that when leave was granted it signified that an application was likely to be successful.

In reaching his decision, the judge considered Mr Moloney's barrister's application that the police should explain why the reporter's notes were so vital to the investigation of the Finucane murder.

Nationalists have alleged it was aided by RUC collusion.

Secondly, he ruled that further thought must be given to whether the county court judge had sufficient powers to deal with all aspects of the case.

At his last appearance in the county court Mr Moloney heard the judge say he was satisfied the notes may materially assist police in their investigations and that their disclosure was necessary for that investigation.

Mr Moloney has said he will not hand over his notes, whatever the outcome of any appeal hearing to the order.

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