A BELFAST judge has ruled that there will be no public inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane, who was killed by loyalist paramilitaries during the Troubles.
Mr Finucane was a prominent human rights lawyer in the North of Ireland in the 1980s and was murdered by loyalist paramilitaries on February 12, 1989.
It emerged some years later that the killers had been acting in collusion with the British intelligence service, MI5.
The news comes as a blow to Mr Finucane’s widow Geraldine, and his family, who have been campaigning for several years for an inquiry into his death.
Human rights organisation Rights Watch UK has been instrumental in assisting Geraldine Finucane in her quest for justice – and the group today expressed its disappointment in the judgement.
“We are deeply disappointed with the judgment this morning that the Government’s decision not to hold a public inquiry into the murder of Patrick Finucane was lawful,” said Yasmine Ahmed, Director of Rights Watch UK.
“This is despite the Court acknowledging that the UK Government colluded in his murder and that subsequent investigations into his death lacked independence and effectiveness.”
Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs said the Government would continue to support a review of Mr Finucane’s death.
“This is a matter which the Government has consistently raised with the British Government,” Charlie Flanagan said.
“I raised it most recently with Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers on 19 May, and the Taoiseach discussed the case with Prime Minister Cameron when they met in London last week.”
The murder of the human rights lawyer remains one of the most controversial events in the Troubles.
The 39-year-old was shot dead in front of his wife and young children in their north Belfast home in February 1989.
The shooting was carried out by loyalist paramilitary group the Ulster Freedom Fighters.
Finucane’s killing came weeks after comments made by Home Office minister Douglas Hogg in the House of Commons when he said that “some solicitors were unduly sympathetic to the cause of the IRA”.
Mr Finucane's widow Geraldine has always insisted that the truth about the killing needs to be uncovered and launched a judicial review against David Cameron at the High Court in Belfast
Mr Cameron agreed to a review of the case by Sir Desmond de Silva QC in 2012 but stopped short of a public inquiry.
Sir Desmond found that, while there were "shocking levels of state collusion" in facilitating the killing, there was no "overarching state conspiracy".
Mrs Finucane dismissed his report as a "whitewash" that had blamed only "dead witnesses" and "defunct agencies".
"Serving personnel and active state departments appear to have been excused," the widow said in 2012.
Pat Finucane's best-known client was the IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands.
He also represented other IRA and Irish National Liberation Army hunger strikers who died during the 1981 Maze prison protest.
His uncle Brendan 'Paddy' Finucane was an ace fighter pilot praised by Churchill for his heroism.