I will take informant’s name to my grave, says defiant Paisley

The inquiry into the killing of loyalist Billy Wright will have to initiate formal proceedings against Ian Paisley Jnr who is defying a Belfast High Court order to name a prison officer informant.

The six-strong inquiry team, headed by retired Scottish appeal judge the Rt Hon Lord MacLean, must decide their next move and then contact the High Court.

A spokesman said the inquiry was aware of Mr Paisley’s decision not to appeal against the order and the issue was being considered.

The former Junior Minister said he had reconsidered his initial intention to appeal against the decision over information relating to the death of the Loyalist Volunteer Force leader Billy Wright 11 years ago.

As the deadline for the Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) to supply the name to the High Court elapsed, Mr Paisley said he would take the identity of his source “to the grave”.

“I am not trying to evade justice, it is up to the courts to decide if they should punish me over what is really a civil disobedience issue.

“I also do not want to be used as an excuse for delaying the Wright inquiry. Others, including journalists and prison officers who appeared at the inquiry, refused to name their sources and they have not been pursued.

“This is not about defying the law or ignoring the court. But I will be taking the name of my informant to my grave. That is my duty.”

“I don't believe it's in my personal or financial interests to keep it running. If I appeal and win, this case goes to the House of Lords. If I don't appeal and just let the case continue to run back to the High Court, nothing changes for me — I'm not revealing the name.”

Almost two years ago Mr Paisley wrote to Billy Wright's father, David, saying he had received information that the Northern Ireland Prison Service had employed people to destroy about 5,600 files as part of an alleged policy in relation to data protection legislation. He said this information, which was provided by a “senior prison officer”, claimed that the decision to destroy the files was “taken at the top”.

But in his ruling in March, Mr Justice Gillen said that although it was important for elected representatives to be able to protect the confidentiality of a source, the information played a central part in enabling the inquiry into Mr Wright’s death to determine whether or not it had been facilitated by the prison authorities.

And the High Court judge added he was satisfied that the inquiry had provided a clear and compelling case and ordered Mr Paisley to provide the information within 17 days. Then in a statement earlier this month, Mr Paisley’s solicitor said: “This is the first time that a Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland has been asked to consider the position of an elected public representative under these circumstances and the case has significant implications, not only for our client, but for all elected public representatives in the United Kingdom and indeed Europe.

“The Court of Appeal will be asked to add politicians to the categories of confidentiality along with of journalists, members of the clergy and doctors.”

The north Antrim MLA, whose position was supported by First Minister Peter Robinson, said he would go to prison rather than break confidentiality and reveal the identity of the source.

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader said: “I have every respect for the courts and acknowledge the difficult task that they faced with the issues that this case raises, but the heart of the democratic system of representation is based upon a constituent being able to talk confidentially to an elected representative and that representative being able to challenge authority where necessary. The recent ruling in this case would undermine that key principle”.

This article is from The Belfast Telegraph

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
New Articles
i100... with this review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam