Prime Minister David Cameron did not act unlawfully when he refused a public inquiry into the loyalist murder of Northern Ireland solicitor Pat Finucane, a High Court judge has ruled.
Delivering his reserved judgment at Belfast High Court, Mr Justice Stephens said: “I uphold that the decision was lawful and accordingly I dismiss that part of the challenge.”
Mr Finucane, 38, who represented a number of high profile republicans, was shot dead in front of his wife and three children at their north Belfast home in February 1989.
The killing, one of the most notorious of the Troubles, is shrouded in controversy over allegations that the security forces colluded with the gunmen from the outlawed Ulster Defence Association (UDA).
The lawyer’s family have long campaigned for a full public inquiry and brought a judicial review against the Prime Minister’s 2011 decision not to hold a statutory probe.
The high profile case was heard in Belfast last month. The murdered solicitor’s family were in court for the judgment.
Instead of proceeding with a full inquiry, Mr Cameron commissioned QC Sir Desmond de Silva to review all the existing documents relating to the case and produce a public narrative of what happened.
Sir Desmond’s report detailed shocking levels of state involvement.
That included spreading malicious propaganda suggesting Mr Finucane was sympathetic to the IRA; one or possibly more police officers proposing him as a target to loyalists; and the mishandling of state agents inside the UDA who were involved in the murder.
While Sir Desmond found no evidence of an overarching conspiracy by the authorities to target the solicitor, he said the actions of a number of state employees had “furthered and facilitated’’ the shooting.
He also said there had been efforts to thwart the subsequent criminal investigation.
In December, Mr Cameron reiterated an apology to the Finucane family in the House of Commons and pledged that the Government would examine the report to identify potential lessons.