12 February 2006

Collusion: The Murder of Pat Finucane

Relatives for Justice

The Killing of Pat Finucane

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usOn 3 October 1997 the United Nations Special Rapporteur, Data Param Cumaraswany, having visited Belfast to investigate allegations of harassment and intimidation of defence lawyers by members of the RUC, called for a judicial inquiry into the murder of human rights lawyer Pat Finucane.

Pat Finucane was shot dead by two masked men on 12 February 1989 in front of his wife and three children. His wife, Geraldine, was also injured in the attack.

The killing was claimed by the UDA who said Finucane was an IRA man. This was denied by family members, friends and in public statements by the RUC.

However, Brian Nelson, the British military intelligence agent who also served as chief intelligence officer of the UDA, alleged after his conviction on other charges that he had directly assisted in the targeting of Pat Finucane.

According to the journal written by Nelson, and quoted on the BBC Panorama programme on June 1992;

According to Ed Maloney, a journalist for the Sunday Tribune the man who asked Nelson for the photograph of Pat Finucane and who was subsequently brought to the Finucane home by Nelson was the head of the UDAs murder gangs. This man served a sentence for possession of scores of leaked documents along with four others. One of these was UDA leader Tommy Lyttle. All were arrested by the Stevens inquiry team. Like the Nelson trial itself a deal was struck which prevented the full details of collusion between British forces and loyalist murder gangs coming out in open court. In the Panorama programme Nelson names the man as Ernie McKee.

There is credible evidence of both police and army involvement. We cite the most significant items below. There is further evidence in the hands of the police which we have not been given access.

The Goverrnment told the UN Special rapporteur that the DPP directed that there should be no prosecution against any officer in connection with Patrick Finucane's death. Significantly the Government did not deny that there was collusion by the government or the security forces in relation to the murder.

The following threats were made against Patrick Finucane by RUC officers

Our understanding is that none of these allegations has been investigated by the police, let alone tested in court. DS (Detective Sergeant RUC) Simpson told the inquest that some of them were investigated by the Stevens inquiry. John Stevens told us that as far as he could remember they were not. It is wholly wrong in our view that such allegations should remain unexamined.

Since the inquest two British army officers have admitted army participation in the UDA murder plot that involved Patrick Finucane. The context of each admission is very different; one in a television programme and one on oath in Court. Yet they are both credible. Together they raise serious questions which require further investigation.

(i) Admissions by Brian Nelson

Brian Nelson was a British army intelligence officer who was placed in the UDA in 1987. He is currently serving prison sentences arising out of his involvement, while acting as an intelligence officer, in other terrorist murders. (Note: Nelson is now a free man. This 1995 report predates Nelson's release in 1996).

His admissions to involvement in the Finucane murder were transmitted in a BBC Panorama programme on 8 June 1992.

He claimed:

(ii). Admissions by a British Army colonel known as J. Colonel J gave evidence on oath at Belfast Crown Court in mitigation for Brian Nelson. He said:

We received no evidence that Patrick Finucane was warned that he was a target for assassination.

We asked the DPP, his deputy and John Stevens about the Panorama allegations. If Panorama was right, Nelson had admitted to conspiracy to murder Patrick Finucane. How then could there not be sufficient evidence to prosecute him? They said they could not comment on individual cases. However they indicated that the full journal was not in police hands. 

We note that in spite of his admission on oath, Colonel J has not been prosecuted.

John Stevens told us he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt who was responsible for the murder. He also said he knows the truth about Brian Nelson and the full facts concerning his involvement in collusion and murders. We do not. The public does not.

While the facts are not disclosed by the police and known to the public only through television, they remain untested, the murderers remain unpunished, the allegations of collusion persist, and a cloud remains hanging, not just over the legal profession, but over the system of justice itself.

A thorough, wider investigation is required!

The British government has yet to respond to the call from the UN Special Rapporteur for a judicial inquiry into the killing of Pat Finucane.

Reference to the latter in particular, statements by the British authorities repudiating the existence of a shoot-to-kill policy by British forces are not substantiated by evidence of an official will 


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