29 January 2006

Probe goes beyond 'King Rat's' death

Sunday Life

By Chris Anderson
29 January 2006

THE inquiry into the murder of LVF boss Billy Wright inside the Maze jail is to investigate events outside the prison after his death.

In a letter earlier this month, the inquiry's solicitor, Henry Palin, confirmed the probe would examine events after 'King Rat' Wright's murder as part of its investigation into allegations of state collusion in the killing.

Mr Palin wrote: "The inquiry is required to inquire into the death of Billy Wright to determine whether any wrongful act or omission by or within the prison authorities, or other state agencies facilitated his death, or whether attempts were made to do so, and whether any such act or omission was intentional or negligent."

And Mr Palin said these issues were not confined to matters before the murder.

"All of the matters set out in the list of issues will be examined and events after Billy Wright's death will be considered to the extent that any alleged act or omission could be seen as pointing to collusion."

Mr Palin was responding to questions whether the Wright Inquiry would include the actions of the RUC, the coroner and prison officers during and after the 1999 inquest into the killing.

Wright's father, David, has expressed serious concerns over a number of issues surrounding the inquest.

Meanwhile, solicitors acting for Mr Wright have applied to the High Court in Belfast for leave to apply for a judicial review of the Secretary of State Peter Hain's decision to have the Wright Inquiry held under the 2005 Inquiries Act.

Mr Wright has also still to decide whether or not he will take part in the inquiry.

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