Fresh look at lawyer's murder

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The Independent Online
A FRESH inquiry into allegations of collusion by British military intelligence in the killing of a solicitor in Northern Ireland has been ordered by the Government.

But it falls well short of the demands by the Irish government and civil rights campaigners for a public or judicial inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane, a Belfast lawyer. Sir Ronnie Flanagan, the RUC chief constable, has asked an assistant Metropolitan Police commissioner, John Stevens, to head the investigation. Ten years ago, another inquiry by Mr Stevens found no evidence of "widespread or institutionalised collusion between the Royal Ulster Constabulary and loyalist paramilitaries".

Sir Ronnie said if fresh evidence was found, there would be an independent inquiry. The Government has been facing rising pressure for the inquiry to be reopened following last month's murder of the civil rights lawyer Rosemary Nelson. Relatives of Ms Nelson are today launching a campaign to demand an independent and international inquiry into allegations of collusion in her death.

Mr Finucane was shot in 1989 by a loyalist gang which included an Army intelligence agent, Brian Nelson. The British-Irish Rights Watch claimed Mr Finucane's killers were the pawns of British military intelligence.

A United Nations report last year also urged a judicial inquiry.

Colin Brown