In November 2010 we entered into negotiations with the NIO on the suggestion of Owen Patterson, in an attempt to resolve the Finucane family’s objection to part of the Inquiries Act 2005. Section 19 of the Act allowed a government minister to overrule decisions by a panel of judges.This was a major change in the law and removed an inquiry’s independence.
During negotiations, the NIO suggested three public inquiry models that might resolve the issue. One was the Baha Mousa Inquiry, which inquired into the death in custody of an Iraqi citizen in 2003 in Basra. This was a short public inquiry established in London in 2008 under the Inquiries Act 2005. It reported very quickly and was relatively inexpensive. The Finucane family opted for this model because S. 19 of the Inquiries Act 2005 was not applied and because the family did not want a lengthy costly inquiry.
Instead David Cameron ordered a review of the papers, which is a far cry from the public inquiry obligation of the Weston Park agreement 2001, which stipulated that public inquiries would be held in six cases.
The decision meant that the only case in which a Weston Park public inquiry has not been established is the case of Pat Finucane.
This is not about a hierarchy of victims or about elevating Pat Finucane above other victims.
This is about the breach of probably the most significant political agreement in the history of this jurisdiction and that breach can’t be swept under the carpet.
We will continue the campaign for a public judicial inquiry and we will consider all options to achieve the objective, as we have done during the legal team meetings.