Page last updated at 14:49 GMT, Tuesday, 30 June 2009 15:49 UK

Ian Paisley Jr is fined 5,000


Mr Paisley spoke to BBC Political Correspondent Gareth Gordon after the judgement was made

The DUP's Ian Paisley Jr has been fined £5,000 for contempt of court.

It follows his refusal to reveal the name of a prison officer who told him thousands of files had been destroyed following Billy Wright's murder.

The loyalist leader was shot dead at the Maze prison in 1997.

Mr Justice Gillen said it would be a "recipe for legal anarchy" if individuals could pick and choose with impunity what laws they obeyed.

Fining the politician, he also awarded legal costs against him.

The court had already heard that the earlier part of the case alone could cost him in excess of £35,000.


However, John Larkin QC appearing for the Billy Wright Inquiry which took the case, said he was instructed to seek only a £3,000 contribution towards its costs.

Mr Paisley Jr, who was accompanied in court by his father, former DUP leader Ian Paisley, refused to co-operate with a direction to name the prison officer he said told him about emergency moves to scrap up to 5,600 files after Wright, leader of the Loyalist Volunteer Force, was shot dead inside the Maze jail in December 1997.

The inquiry, which is examining claims of collusion surrounding the paramilitary chief's assassination, obtained the order against Mr Paisley Jr in April.

Mr Paisley, however, insisted he could not break a pledge of confidentiality given to his informant and vowed to "take the name to his grave".

Speaking after the verdict, he heavily criticised remarks made by Mr Larkin who had said the politician had "actually wanted to go to prison".

Mr Paisley said the remarks were "flippant and nasty".

He added that Mr Larkin, who is earmarked to be NI's attorney general on the devolution of policing and justice, would come to regret what he had said.

The remarks were also criticised by Ian Paisley Sr, who said he was proud of his son.

Meanwhile, Mr Paisley Jr was also censured on Tuesday by the Speaker of the assembly, William Hay, for revealing details of a private meeting between the pair.

Mr Paisley Jr said the Speaker had assured him that language he used to describe the SDLP's Declan O'Loan was "perfectly correct and used in the proper context of parliamentary cut and thrust of debate".

However, Mr Hay said while he was open to private discussions with MLAs: "For a member to recount them on the floor of the chamber is unwise and very discourteous after a private meeting with myself as Speaker."

In a debate in November 2007, Mr O'Loan had accused Mr Paisley Jr of "misleading the house", and the DUP man later responded by accusing his fellow North Antrim assembly member of a "cheap" and "nasty" attack.

Mr O'Loan then complained about Mr Paisley Jr's language.

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