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Prime Minister Cameron Statement on Patrick Finucane

Prime Minister Cameron Statement on Patrick Finucane

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Published by impunitywatch
Statement from the office of Prime Minister David Cameron
Statement from the office of Prime Minister David Cameron

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Categories:Types, Business/Law
Published by: impunitywatch on Dec 13, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Prime Minister David Cameron statement on Patrick Finucane
News StoriesPress BriefingsPress NoticesPrime Minister's QuestionsSpeeches and Transcripts Statements and Articles
Statement on Sir Desmond de Silva’s report into thenature and extent of state collusion in the murder ofPatrick Finucane
Prime Minister David Cameronstatement on Patrick Finucane
Wednesday 12 December 2012
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I would like to make a statement on Sir Desmond de Silva
s report into the nature andextent of state collusion in the murder of Patrick Finucane.Mr Speaker, the murder of Patrick Finucane in his home in North Belfast on Sunday12th February 1989 was an appalling crime.He was shot 14 times as he sat down for dinner with his wife and three children.He died in front of them.His wife, Geraldine, was injured too.In the period since the murder there have been three full criminal investigationscarried out by the former Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Lord Stevens.Taken together they amount to the biggest criminal investigation in British history ledby the most senior police officer consisting of more than 1 million pages of documentsand 12,000 witness statements obtained with full police powers.As a result of the third investigation – one of those responsible – Ken Barrett, wastried and convicted in 2004 for the murder of Patrick Finucane.There was a further report by Judge Cory.Both Lord Stevens and Judge Cory made it clear that there was State collusion in themurder.This itself was a shocking conclusion and I apologised to the family on behalf of theBritish government when I met them last year.But despite these reports, some twenty-three years after the murder – there has stillonly been limited information in the public domain.The whole country and beyond is entitled to know the extent and nature of thecollusion – and of the failure of the State.That is why last October this government asked Sir Desmond de Silva to conduct anindependent review of the evidence to expose the truth as quickly as possible.
The official site of the British Prime Minister's Office
Mr Speaker, Sir Desmond has had full and unrestricted access to the Lord Stevensarchive and to all government papers.These include highly sensitive intelligence files and new and significant informationthat was not available to either Lord Stevens or Justice Cory – including CabinetPapers, minutes of meetings with Ministers and senior officials, and papers andguidance on agent-handling.He has declassified key documents, including original intelligence material andpublished them in Volume II of his report today.The decision over what to publish was entirely his own.Sir Desmond
s report has now given us the fullest possible account of the murder ofPatrick Finucane and the truth about state collusion.And the extent of disclosure in today
s report is without precedent.Mr Speaker, nobody has more pride than me in the work of our security forces.As Sir Desmond makes clear he is looking at “an extremely dark and violent time” inNorthern Ireland
s history.And I am sure the House will join with me in paying tribute to the police and securityforces that served in Northern IrelandBut we should be in no doubt that this report make extremely difficult reading.It sets out the extent of collusion in areas such as identifying, targeting and murderingMr Finucane, supplying a weapon and facilitating its later disappearance anddeliberately obstructing subsequent investigations.The report also answers questions about how high up the collusion went including therole of Ministers at the time.Sir Desmond is satisfied that there was not “an over-arching State conspiracy tomurder Patrick Finucane”But, Mr Speaker, while he rejects any state conspiracy, he does find shocking levelsof State collusion.Most importantly, Sir Desmond says he is “left in significant doubt as to whetherPatrick Finucane would have been murdered by the Ulster Defence Association inFebruary 1989 had it not been for the different strands of involvement by elements ofthe State.”He finds that “a series of positive actions by employees of the State actively furtheredand facilitated his murder…”And he cites five specific areas of collusion.First, “there were extensive “leaks” of security force information to the UDA and otherloyalist paramilitary groups”Sir Desmond finds that “in 1985 the Security Service assessed that 85% of the UDA
originated from sources within the security forces…And he is “…satisfied that this proportion would have remained largely unchanged by…the time of Patrick Finucane
s murder.”Second, there was a failure by the authorities to act on threat intelligenceSir Desmond describes – and I quote – “…an extraordinary state of affairs…in which
both the Army and the RUC Special Branch had prior notice of a series of plannedUDA assassinations, yet nothing was done by the RUC to seek to prevent theseattacks.”When you read some of the specific cases in the report – page after page in chapter7 – it is really shocking that this happened in our country.And in the case of Patrick Finucane he says, “it should have been clear to the RUCSB from the threat intelligence that…the UDA were about to mount an imminent attackbut “…it is clear that they took no action whatsoever to act on the threat intelligence”Third, he confirms that employees of the State and State agents played “key roles” inthe murder.Sir Desmond finds that “two agents who were at the time in the pay of the state wereinvolved…”Brian Nelson and William Stobie “…together with another who was to become anagent of the State after his involvement in that murder.”It can not be argued that these were rogue agents.Indeed Sir Desmond concludes that army informer Brian Nelson should “properly beconsidered to be acting in a position equivalent to an employee of the MoD.”And although Nelson is found to have withheld information from his Army handlers“…the Army must bear a degree of responsibility for Nelson
s targeting activity during1987-89, including that of Patrick Finucane.”And most shocking of all, Sir Desmond says that on the balance of probabilities…anRUC officer or officers did propose Patrick Finucane…as a UDA target when speakingto a loyalist paramilitary.”Fourth, there was a failure to investigate and arrest key members of the West BelfastUDA over a long period of time.As I said earlier, Ken Barrett was eventually convicted of the murder but what isextraordinary is that back in 1991 – instead of prosecuting him for murder as RUCCID wanted to RUC SB decided instead to recruit him as an agent.Fifth, this was all part of a wider “…relentless attempt to defeat the ends of justice”after the murder had taken place.Sir Desmond finds that:“…senior Army officers deliberately lied to criminal investigators…”The RUC Special Branch too “…were responsible for seriously obstructing theinvestigation…”And on the separate question of how certain Ministers were briefed while SirDesmond finds no political conspiracy, he is clear that Ministers were misled.He finds that “…the Army and MoD officials provided the Secretary of State forDefence with highly misleading and in parts factually inaccurate advice about the[Force Research Unit
s] handling of Nelson”.And on the comments made by Douglas Hogg, Sir Desmond agrees with LordStevens that briefing he received from the RUC meant he was “compromised.”But he goes on to say there is “no basis for any claim that he intended his commentsto provide a form of political encouragement for an attack on any solicitor.”

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