3 April 2003 Edition

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'Provisional' date for Stevens' publication

The long awaited publication of the Stevens' report into crown force collusion in the murder of Belfast defence lawyer Pat Finucane is to be published on 17 April but already the London Metropolitan Police Chief is describing the date as 'provisional'. According to media leaks, the report is set to recommend a series of criminal charges, including conspiracy to murder, against 23 serving or former British soldiers and RUC/PSNI officers.

According to the report, the Stevens team has interviewed 15,000 people, catalogued 4,000 exhibits, taken 5,640 statements and seized 6,000 documents but to date only one person has ever been charged in connection with the murder of Pat Finucane.

The trial of William Stobie, a self confessed Special Branch agent and UDA quartermaster admitted he supplied the weapons to the killer gang, collapsed when the DPP decided not to call the main prosecution witness. Stobie was shot dead a short time later.

Meanwhile, PSNI Chief Constable Hugh Orde has confirmed that there is to be a review of unsolved killings that will include probes into the deaths of 211 of the 302 RUC officers killed during the conflict. The special unit will be headed by Assistant Chief Constable Chris Albiston.

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