Category: Archive

Defiant Moloney won’t surrender Stobie notebooks

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Anne Cadwallader

Journalist Ed Moloney says if he loses his legal challenge to an RUC order forcing him to hand over confidential interview notes, his lawyers will not seek an appeal and the Crown will have to decide his punishment.

Major civil liberties organizations in Britain and Ireland — including British Irish Rights Watch and the Committee on the Administration of Justice — have expressed their concern over the legal action taken against Moloney.

The judicial review is continuing at Belfast High Court but Moloney has already said that no matter what the court decides, he will not hand over his notes.

Lawyers acting for the police say Moloney must hand over the notes to the team investigating the 1989 murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane. The guns used to kill Finucane were provided by UDA quartermaster, William Stobie, who was also a RUC informer.

In 1990, when he suspected the RUC were about to expose his informing to his UDA colleagues, Stobie gave an interview to Moloney that he said could be used only when he agreed. Stobie made incriminating statements admitting his role to the RUC later that year, but he was only arrested and charged this year when he said Moloney could publish the interview.

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The police are seeking Moloney’s notes to see if they contain anything left out of the printed article. Moloney says his career will be at an end and his life in danger if he hands over the notes.

The Committee on the Administration of Justice has also expressed serious concerns that a judge hearing the case had earlier been involved in a case concerning the Pat Finucane murder.

Justice Brian Kerr is sitting in judgment with the Lord Chief Justice Robert Carswell. Kerr acted for the British attorney general in the 1992 trial of British Army agent and UDA intelligence chief Brian Nelson.

Nelson, who was also working for the UDA, as well British military intelligence, scouted Finucane’s house and provided a photograph of the solicitor for the killers. He says he warned his handlers that Finucane was being targeted, but they failed to intervene.

"Normally, in any case — but particularly in sensitive cases where matters are at stake of the utmost public interest — one would expect judges to consider very closely whether their involvement in previous cases could raise doubts about their perceived ability to adjudicate independently," said a spokesman for the Committee on the Administration of Justice.

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