Re Ian Paisley Junior MLA

JurisdictionNorthern Ireland
CourtQueen's Bench Division (Northern Ireland)
Judgment Date2009
Neutral Citation[2009] NIQB 40
1
Neutral Citation No.: [2009] NIQB 40 Ref:
GIL7454
Judgment: approved by the Court for handing down Delivered:
03-04-09
(subject to editorial corrections)*
IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE IN NORTHERN IRELAND
________
QUEEN’S BENCH DIVISION (CROWN SIDE)
________
IN THE MATTER OF AN APPLICATION UNDER SECTION 36 OF THE
________
AND IN THE MATTER OF IAN PAISLEY JUNIOR
________
GILLEN J
The Proceedings
[1] In this matter the applicant is Lord MacLean who is the Chairman of
the Tribunal known as the Billy Wright Inquiry (“the Inquiry”). The
respondent, Ian Paisley Junior, is an elected member of the Northern Ireland
Legislative Assembly. During 2007 and 2008 he was a Government Minister.
The Chairman of the Inquiry has certified the failure of the respondent to
comply with a notice dated 19 June 2008 served on him pursuant to Section 21
of the Inquiries Act 2005 (“the 2005 Act”). The applicant now applies to the
court to make an order in the terms of the said notice pursuant to Section
36(2) of the 2005 Act so that effect may be given to it.
The Factual Background
[2] The Billy Wright Inquiry was announced by the Secretary of State for
Northern Ireland (“SOS”) on 16 November 2004. On 23 November 2005 the
Inquiry was converted by the SOS to an Inquiry to be held under the 2005 Act.
[3] The power to establish an inquiry derives from Section 1 of the 2005
Act which provides as follows:
“1. Power to establish inquiry
(1) A Minister may cause an inquiry to be held
under this Act in relation to a case where it appears to
him that
2
(a) particular events have caused, or are capable of
causing, public concern or
(b) there is public concern that particular events
may have occurred.”
[4] Section 8 of the 2005 Act provides that:
“In appointing a member of the inquiry, the Minister
must have regard
(a) to the need to ensure that the inquiry panel
(considered as a whole) has the necessary
expertise to undertake the inquiry;
(b) in the case of an inquiry panel consisting of a
Chairman and one or more other members, to
the need for balance (considered against the
background of the terms of reference) in the
composition of the panel.”
[5] Section 9 imposes on the Minister a requirement of impartiality in the
appointment of members of the inquiry.
[6] The terms of reference of the Inquiry are:
“To inquire into the death of Billy Wright with a view
to determining whether any wrongful act or omission
by or within the prison authorities or other state
agencies facilitated his death, or whether attempts
were made to do so; whether any such act or omission
was intentional or negligent; and to make
recommendations.”
[7] On 21 June 2007 the respondent wrote to the father of Billy Wright
providing him with information relevant to the Inquiry. In particular he
referred to a prison officer who allegedly had divulged information
concerning the destruction of material which would have been relevant to the
Inquiry. Inter alia, the letter declared:
According to the information I received two people
were employed to destroy files and were paid £2.50
per file destroyed. This was carried out as an
emergency and before the Data Protection
Regulations came into effect. The idea that it was

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1 cases
  • Moore-Bick v Mills
    • United Kingdom
    • Queen's Bench Division (Administrative Court)
    • 27 Febrero 2020
    ...I refer to the decision made by Gillen J, as he then was, in the High Court of Northern Ireland in the case of Re Paisley Junior (No 3) [2009] NIQB 40 between paras.32–38. At para.37, the learned Judge described the court's role as follows: “On the other hand, although the court must only a......

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