Paisley ordered to disclose sources in Wright murder probe

A Northern Ireland Assembly member was today ordered to disclose his sources in a probe into the prison murder of loyalist leader Billy Wright or face contempt of court proceedings.

Ian Paisley junior could be imprisoned because he is refusing to hand over material about the shooting dead of Mid Ulster gunman Wright in December 1997.

He was served with a High Court summons at Stormont today requiring him to appear before Belfast High Court judge Mr Justice Gillen tomorrow morning.

The Democratic Unionist Party politician was told by a prison officer informant that documents were destroyed after the controversial killing by republicans of the Loyalist Volunteer Force chief.

A public inquiry considering the circumstances surrounding the death wants to probe that allegation.

Mr Paisley said: "I can't give the name of my sources, it would not be the credible thing to do, it would not be the honest thing to do, it would not be the just thing to do."

He faces a range of possible penalties including a fine which could render him bankrupt or a prison term.

"I can't hand over this name, I won't hand over this name, I will take this name to my grave because that's the commitment I gave to my source when the source came to me," he added.

He said the courts understood the dilemma he was in.

"If the courts think it is the sensible and credible thing for them to do, to put a public representative in jail for the first time on the issue of contempt like this, the public would see that as completely and totally over-reacting.

"It is devastating for justice that a public representative doing the right thing be put in jail because of the Billy Wright tribunal."

He added: "I think that would make a laughing stock of the tribunal."







Wright was shot in a prison van as he went to meet a visitor at the Maze high-security jail near Belfast.

Three inmates from republican splinter group the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) was found to be responsible.

The Wright Inquiry, led by Lord MacLean, was announced in November 2004 following claims of security force collusion.

It is investigating how the killers were able to successfully target their victim, including smuggling in arms, and why a prison officer was "stood down" from his post in the watchtower overlooking the wings on the morning of December 27.

Wright, 37, founded the LVF in 1996. He is suspected of involvement in the murders of several Catholics in the Portadown and Lurgan area of Co Armagh between the mid-1980s and his death in December 1997.

Mr Paisley wrote to Wright's father, David, with information that the Northern Ireland Prison Service had employed people to destroy about 5,600 files shortly after his son was shot at the Maze.

Mr Paisley had said he was told of an alleged policy within the Prison Service to destroy a large number of files as an emergency due 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".

He added today: "I am defending the rights of ordinary men and women. It would be incredibly poor and bad judgment by anyone to punish a public representative for doing that."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
people
News
Justin Bieber performing in Paris earlier this year
people
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman and Lauren O'Neil in Jamie Lloyd's Richard III
theatreReview: The monarch's malign magnetism and diabolic effrontery aren’t felt
Arts and Entertainment
'Molecular Man +1+1+1' by Jonathan Borofsky at Yorkshire Sculpture park
tv
News
Glamour magazine hosts a yoga class with Yogalosophy author Mandy Ingber on June 10, 2013 in New York City.
newsFather Padraig O'Baoill said the exercise was 'unsavoury' in a weekly parish newsletter
Extras
indybest
News
people'She is unstoppable', says Jean Paul Gaultier at Paris show
Sport
Alexis Sanchez and apparently his barber Carlos Moles in Barcelona today
football
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips
video
Arts and Entertainment
In his own words: Oscar Wilde in 1882
theatreNew play by the Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials - and what they reveal about the man
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m
filmWith US films earning record-breaking amounts at the Chinese box office, Hollywood is more than happy to take its lead from its new-found Asian audience
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Support Assistant - Hampshire - up to 40K

£25000 - £40000 per annum + 23 days holiday Pension Scheme: Deerfoot IT Resour...

Foundation / Year 1 Teacher - Long Term - Salford

£90 - £130 per day + competitive rates, pension scheme: Randstad Education Man...

.Net Developer -London - up to 55K

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Excellent benefits : Deerfoot IT Resources Limited...

Long Term Primary Teacher - Oldham - Start September 2014

£100 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Manchester Primary: Key Stage 1 Teache...

Day In a Page

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil