On 12 February 1989, Pat Finucane, a 39 year old solicitor from Belfast was shot dead as he was having dinner with his family. Loyalist paramilitaries claimed responsibility for his death.
In 1999, as a result of the Stevens Report, RUC Special Branch agent and loyalist, William Stobie, a member of the UDA, was convicted of supplying one of the pistols used to kill him. In September 2004, UDA informer Ken Barrett pleaded guilty to his murder.
His family continue to campaign for a fully independent, judicial public inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the killing.
The Inquiries Act 2005 introduced on 7 June 2005 limited the scope of the inquiries proposed by Judge Cory. He has stated "It seems to me that the proposed new Act would make a meaningful Inquiry impossible."
Mike Ritchie, Director of the Committee on the Administration of Justice, spoke at the Pat Finucane commemoration conference in Trinity College Dublin on Saturday 14th February 2009.
He spoke of the respect in which Pat Finucane’s memory is held by the human rights community. He said that organisations such as CAJ carried on his work along with other lawyers over the years by seeking to create human rights compliant regimes for police detention, within prisons and in mainstreaming rights protection throughout government and public bodies. He recalled important test cases in which Pat Finucane was involved, such as:
In re Gillen (a 1988 case which re-defined the protection available to those under threat of ill-treatment by police officers during interrogation);
Pettigrew v. NIO (a successful compensation claim by a political prisoner physically ill-treated in the immediate aftermath of the Maze escape in 1983).
Finally, he expressed CAJ’s regret that the recent report of the Consultative Group on the Past (widely known as the Eames/Bradley Report) had failed to assert the Finucane family’s right to a public inquiry and had instead suggested that the case could be dealt with satisfactorily through their proposals for a Legacy Commission.
To read the conclusion of Mike's address please click here. (PDF, 31 KB)
See February 2009 Just News Special edition on Pat Finucane. (PDF, 2 MB)