Below are the collected public statements of Geraldine Finucane, Peter Madden and Madden & Finucane Solicitors on today’s ruling by the Supreme Court that the British government has not complied with its obligation under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights to hold an effective investigation into the 1989 murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane.
Today the Supreme Court has vindicated Geraldine Finucane and her family in their (to use the words in the Judgment) “relentless campaign” for justice by allowing Geraldine Finucane’s appeal. The family would like to thank the Supreme Court Justices for their careful and respectful consideration of the case.
The Court has decided that a paper review held by Sir Desmond de Silva was not an effective investigation into Pat’s murder. The Court has further decided that the Government has not complied with its obligations pursuant to Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights to hold an effective investigation into the murder.
Two main factors led to the Court’s conclusion. First, all investigations to date have lacked the power to subpoena witnesses and, secondly, no-one has been identified as being responsible for the collusion found by previous investigations and admitted by the Government, i.e. conduct of State Agents who facilitated and furthered the murder.
The decision was unanimous. That is the end of the court process.
The only lawful decision open to the Government that can rectify this state of affairs is a decision to hold a Public Inquiry under the Inquiries Act that has the statutory power to subpoena witnesses and order the disclosure of all relevant documentation.
The following statement was read out by Geraldine Finucane outside the Supreme Court after the Judgment was delivered:
“This is an historic moment. I stand before you today outside the United Kingdom Supreme Court with one simple message: we have won.
“My family and I have endured three private police investigations, two confidential documentary reviews, secret government negotiations and a long and difficult court case. We have had to overcome obstacles the likes of which no other family has faced. And today, we face the world with one simple message: we have won.
“We have campaigned for thirty years, travelled the globe and argued our case all over the world. With all of that help and support and faith and goodwill we can, finally, stand before all of our friends and deliver one simple message: we have won.
“The Supreme Court has given its Judgment on the actions of the British Government. They have been found wanting. They have been found in breach of the most fundamental obligation of all: to protect and vindicate the right to life. The Court has said that they cannot ignore ‘a violation of a convention right has taken place…’
“The public inquiry that my family and I have fought for over three decades has culminated in this great victory today. I would like to thank our legal team – Barry MacDonald QC, Fiona Doherty QC, Fearghal Shiels and my great friend, Peter Madden, for their Herculean efforts on our behalf. We would not have succeeded without them.
“I would also like to pay tribute to all the individuals and organisations worldwide who have supported us in our efforts these many years. Our many friends in Ireland, Britain, Europe, America and beyond have sustained us through many a dark hour. There are too many to thank individually, so I thank them all today.
“Our many friends and supporters know, as we know, that this is a step on the way to our goal: the full truth behind the murder of Pat Finucane. The Judgment of this Court is not the end of that journey, but it represents great progress towards our goal.
“The British Government now knows that it cannot conceal the truth any longer. They have now been told this by the highest Court in the land. It is time for the murder of Pat Finucane to be properly and publicly investigated in a public inquiry. Nothing less will suffice.”
Peter Madden, of Madden & Finucane, the family solicitor, said after the hearing:
“Only a public examination of the relevant documentation and the questioning of the relevant witnesses by the interested parties in a judicial Public Inquiry can deliver the objective, which is to uncover the truth of what actually happened.
“I would like to thank our counsel, Barry Macdonald and Fiona Doherty for their invaluable expertise and advice over all the years of this process.”
“All five justices of The Supreme Court have unanimously stated that in light of its finding that Pat Finucane’s right to life had been violated, that it is now for the British Government to arrive at a mechanism to comply with Article 2.
“We say that the only possible process which can establish the full circumstances of Pat’s murder is by the establishment of a full public judicial inquiry which possesses the full range of powers which the flawed processes such as the paper de Silva Review clearly lacked.
“The Government should move to do so without further delay or prevarication.”