It seems that police foot dragging is behind the delay on bringing the Billy Wright ‘collusion case’ to bear.
Lord MacLean indicated that the failure to hand over documents “has slowed down the Inquiry’s work”. MI5 may also be holding on to documents, but the Home Office refused to discuss the matter.
Both police Special Branch and MI5 knew of threats against the notorious loyalist before he was shot dead by INLA prisoners in the top security Maze Prison in 1997. The judge who recommended the inquiry, retired Canadian Supreme Court Justice Peter Cory, said he could not establish if those warnings were passed on to prison authorities.
“In light of the specific nature of some of the threats to kill Billy Wright, it may well be that a failure to alert prison authorities to this intelligence would constitute a collusive act since it could amount to turning a blind eye to a situation of real and imminent danger,” he wrote in 2003.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty