Stevens Report


Stevens Report

The Stevens Report was the result of three official British government inquiries led by Sir John Stevens. The 'Stevens Enquiry 3', Overview & Recommendations, report was released on April 17, 2003. The report states that members of the security forces in Northern Ireland colluded with the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) over the loyalist murders of many innocent people in the 1970s and 1980s, including the solicitor Pat Finucane in 1989. The government forces involved include the Force Research Unit of the British army and the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), in particular its Special Branch.

Stevens, required three police inquiries, during which time his offices within RUC headquarters suffered an arson attack.

Stevens noted, under "Obstruction of my Enquiries":

There was a clear breach of security before the planned arrest of [British agent and UDA member Brian] Nelson and other senior loyalists. Information was leaked to the loyalist paramilitaries and the press. This resulted in the operation being aborted. Nelson was advised by his FRU handlers to leave home the night before. A new date was set for the operation on account of the leak. The night before the new operation my Incident room was destroyed by fire. This incident, in my opinion, has never been adequately investigated and I believe it was a deliberate act of arson. [ [http://www.madden-finucane.com/patfinucane/index.htm Stevens Enquiry 3, April 17 2003] , p. 13

Stevens concluded:

4.6 I have uncovered enough evidence to lead me to believe that the murders of Patrick Finucane and Brian Adam Lambert could have been prevented. I also believe that the RUC investigation of Patrick Finucane’s murder should have resulted in the early arrest and detection of his killers. [See "Into the Dark" by (former RUC CID officer) Johnston Brown, Gill & Macmillan, 2005, for information on the official protection for over eight years of Ken Barrett, the self-confessed killer of solicitor Pat Finucane]

4.7 I conclude there was collusion in both murders and the circumstances surrounding them. Collusion is evidenced in many ways. This ranges from the willful failure to keep records, the absence of accountability, the withholding of intelligence and evidence, through to the extreme of agents being involved in murder.

4.8 The failure to keep records or the existence of contradictory accounts can often be perceived as evidence of concealment or malpractice. It limits the opportunity to rebut serious allegations. The absence of accountability allows the acts or omissions of individuals to go undetected. The withholding of information impedes the prevention of crime and the arrest of suspects. The unlawful involvement of agents in murder implies that the security forces sanction killings.

4.9 My three Enquiries have found all these elements of collusion to be present. The co-ordination, dissemination and sharing of intelligence were poor. Informants and agents were allowed to operate without effective control and to participate in terrorist crimes. Nationalists were known to be targeted but were not properlywarned or protected. Crucial information was withheld from Senior Investigating Officers. Important evidence was neither exploited nor preserved. [http://www.madden-finucane.com/patfinucane/index.htm Stevens Enquiry 3, April 17 2003] , p. 16]

Under "Other Matters concerning Collusion", Stevens noted:

2.17 My Enquiry team also investigated an allegation that senior RUC officers briefed the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Home Department, the Rt Hon Douglas Hogg QC, MP, that ‘some solicitors were unduly sympathetic to the cause of the IRA’. Mr Hogg repeated this view during a debate on the Prevention of Terrorism legislation in the House of Commons. Within a few weeks Patrick Finucane was murdered. Mr Hogg’s comments about solicitors’ support for terrorism made on 17 January 1989 aroused controversy. To the extent that they were based on information passed by the RUC, they were not justifiable and the Enquiry concludes that the Minister was compromised.
2.18 A further aspect of my Enquiry was how the RUC dealt with threat intelligence. This included examination and analysis of RUC records to determine whether both sides of the community were dealt with in equal measure. They were not. [ibid, p. 11]

References

External links

* [http://sinnfein.ie/peace/document/107/1 The Stevens Report] on the Sinn Féin web site
* [http://www.madden-finucane.com Madden & Finucane]
* [http://www.patfinucanecentre.org Pat Finucane Centre]
* [http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/issues/violence/birw0299.htm Deadly Intelligence: State Involvement in Loyalist Murder in Northern Ireland - SUMMARY] on the web site of CAIN [http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/index.html Conflict and Politics in Northern Ireland (1968 to the Present)] part of ARK [http://www.ark.ac.uk/ Northern Ireland Social and Political Archive] in collaboration with Queens University Belfast and the University of Ulster. This article is referenced in the Stevens Report.
* [http://www.guardian.co.uk/Northern_Ireland/Story/0,2763,938328,00.html Scandal of Ulster's secret war] — "The Guardian" newspaper story
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/2954773.stm Security forces 'aided' loyalist murders] — BBC News report

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