Cory Collusion Inquiry

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Event.png Cory Collusion Inquiry  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
DateMay 2002 - ?
PerpetratorsPeter Cory

In May 2002 the Cory Collusion Inquiry was established to conduct an independent inquiry into the murder of specific individuals in Northern Ireland, where credible allegations of collusion between the killers and the Security Forces had been made. A retired Canadian supreme court judge, Peter Cory was appointed by the British and Irish governments to undertake a thorough investigation of the allegations in six particular cases. Two of them - the killing of two Royal Ulster Constabulary officers and the killing of Northern Ireland Lord Justice Maurice Gibson and Lady Cecily Gibson - relate to allegations of collusion by the Irish Garda Síochána and these reports were submitted to the Irish Government.[1] [2]

In April 2004, the UK authorities published Justice Cory's reports but refused to announce a public inquiry into Patrick Finucane's case under the Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Act 1921. Instead, introduction of new legislation under which an inquiry into the Finucane case would be established was announced. There was no consultation prior to the publication of the Bill. The new Inquiries Act 2005 repeals the Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Act 1921.

As of April 2011 - over 22 years after the killing and despite constant pressure from the family - there is still no sign that an independent judicial inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane will ever be established. The constant squirming, obfuscation and weasel words of British State spokesmen on the issue demonstrate beyond all reasonable doubt that the UK Security Services were deeply complicit in the murder.

The Inquiry

In the case of the two RUC officers, who were killed in an ambush by the Provisional IRA on 20 March 1989, Cory considered all the relevant material, including intelligence reports, and concluded that evidence was revealed that, if accepted, could be found to constitute collusion. As a result, he recommended a public inquiry into the matter. The Smithwick Tribunal. [3] As of April 2011 the Inquiry has not concluded and appears to be dormant.

In the case of Lord Justice and Lady Gibson, who were killed in a car-bomb explosion by the Provisional IRA on 25 April 1987, Mr Justice Cory concluded that there is no evidence of collusion by the Garda Síochána or any other Government agency that would warrant the holding of an inquiry.

The other four cases - the murders of Pat Finucane, Robert Hamill, Rosemary Nelson and Billy Wright - relate to allegations of collusion by British security forces and these were submitted to the British Government in January 2004.

The result

In all four cases, Cory recommended that the UK Government hold public inquiries:

  • An inquiry into Rosemary Nelson case opened at the Craigavon Civic Centre in April 2005 [4]. The panel members are Sir Michael Morland (Chair), Dame Valerie Strachan and Sir Anthony Burden.
  • June 2005 saw the Billy Wright inquiry open [5], chaired by Lord MacLean. Also sitting on the inquiry are academic professor Andrew Coyle from the University of London and the former Bishop of Hereford, the Reverend John Oliver [6].
  • The preliminary hearing of the Robert Hamill Inquiry was held on 24 May 2005 in Portadown. The inquiry was chaired by Sir Edwin Jowitt, the other panel members are Sir John Evans and Reverend Baroness (Kathleen) Richardson of Calow [7] and started its full hearings in January 2009.
  • The UK Government announced an inquiry would be held into the Pat Finucane case [8]. This has yet to open.

On 7 June 2005 the British government passed the The Inquiries Bill 2005 [9]. The legislation limited the scope of the inquiries proposed by Cory and drew scathing criticism from him. In a letter addressed to the head of a US Congressional Committee he slammed the legislation which is intended to define the remit and scope of the inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane describing it as "an intolerable Alice in Wonderland situation" and urged fellow Canadian judges to boycott any proposed inquiry should they be approached by the British Government. The letter to US Congressman Chris Smith stated:

"it ....would make a meaningful inquiry impossible .... I cannot contemplate any self respecting Canadian judge accepting an appointment to an inquiry constituted under the new proposed act." [10]




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