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28 October 1999 Edition

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Further implication of RUC in Finucane murder

Journalist wins case



Attempts by the Stevens Inquiry team to force Sunday Tribune journalist Ed Moloney to hand over his interview notes with RUC agent William Stobie have failed.

In a judgment handed down at Belfast High Court on Wednesday, 27 October, a judge overturned previous court rulings that directed Moloney must turn over his notes to the team investigating the 1989 Finucane killing.

In the early 1990s, Moloney interviewed former RUC Special Branch informer William Stobie in relation to the Finucane murder. This interview was carried out on the understanding that it would not be made public until Stobie believed that his life or liberty were being endangered. After Stobie's arrest earlier this year, Moloney ran the interview.

Moloney was ordered to hand over his interview notes. Moloney then took out a judicial review in order to fight this demand. On Wednesday, 27 October that judicial review overturned the demand for the handover of his notes.

Moloney's success, however, will serve to highlight a number of serious issues.

His defence lawyers wanted access to the RUC interview notes taken after Stobie was arrested in 1990. Moloney's lawyers claimed that the notes could show that the RUC may have been in possession of all of the relevant facts in relation to Stobie's account of the murder of Pat Finucane.

The fact that the judicial review has ruled that Moloney does not need to hand over his notes seriously implicates the RUC in the murder and the subsequent cover-up.

In effect, the decision means that the judicial review believes Ed Moloney does not have any more information than the RUC. This means that at least as far back as 1990, the RUC knew who killed Pat Finucane. This also means that the RUC had detailed information at hand in 1990 highlighting the issue of collusion in the murder (and the fact that the RUC did nothing to prevent it despite detailed information from Stobie at the time) and yet chose not to investigate this information.
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