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Teach Dáithí Ó Conaill, 223 Parnell Street, Dublin 1, Ireland
Phone: +353-1-872 9747; FAX: +353-1-872 9757; e-mail: saoirse@iol.ie
Date: 25 Márta / March 2009

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http://saoirse.info

In this issue:
1. Two charged, two others still in Antrim
2. RSF Vice-President visits Italy
3. Hunger strike ‘deal’ papers published
4. Man remanded on bail over Nairac abduction
5. Man guilty over sectarian attack
6. Chronic overcrowding in prisons
7. British Immigration and Borders Bill
8. HET investigate collusion in murder of two teenagers
9. Bugging unlawful and in breach of suspects right to privacy
10. Civil case nears its end

1. TWO CHARGED, TWO OTHERS STILL IN ANTRIM

ONE of the seven people arrested for questioning in connection with the shooting of a member of the RUC on March 9 was taken to hospital on March 21, for medical treatment, but later returned to Antrim barracks according to a statement from Republican Sinn Féin.

The Lurgan man was arrested on Monday March 16 along with another man and has been refusing food since. He has a serious back problem and was ill when he was arrested according to a family member. He is in severe pain and running a high fever. He is being held under Section 41 of the [British] Serious Terrorism Act.

The family tried to get an independent doctor to assess his condition during the week but the RUC finally called in another doctor and moved him to hospital last night where he is under armed guard. “He is completely innocent and should never have been arrested,” said a relative, “many of those arrested are related and were arrested simply because they are related, the old ‘guilty by association’.”

The man was released without charge along with another man aged 27 on March 24.

None of the families were allowed to see those detained under British law in Antrim. Their only contact has been with their solicitors. In all six men and one woman are being held in Antrim barracks in connection with that shooting and all have had their time of detention extended under the British 2006 Terrorism Act. One man and a 17-tear-old youth are now in Antrim barracks for 12 days. Last night the RUC were granted a further seven-day detention for the woman and the man arrested with her.

Four others were held in connection with the shooting of two British soldiers in Antrim on March 7. Three of them arrested on March 14 had their detention extended for a further seven days on March 21.

Under this British draconian legislation they can be held for questioning for 28 days before they either have to be released or charged. They can be questioned for four hours at a time with a break of just 15 minutes in between.

On March 20 Republican Sinn Féin learnt that two men arrested in North Armagh on March 16 had been refusing food since being taken to Antrim RUC Barracks.

This followed countless raids and arrests in the Lurgan and Craigavon areas of Co Armagh since Tuesday, March 10.

On March 24 a 17-year-old youth was charged at Lisburn Magistrates Court with the shooting dead of Stephen Carroll. He was also accused of “possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life, membership of the Continuity IRA and collecting information likely to be of use to terrorists”. He had been in custody for 13 days, his only contact with the outside world was through his solicitor. His parents and immediate family were denied access to him.

On March 25 Brendan McConville (37) was charged at Lisburn Magistrates Court with the shooting dead of Stephen Carroll. He was charged with “possession od an AKM assault rifle and 26 rounds of ammunition with intent to endanger life or cause serious damage to property or enable another to do so”. Brendan McConville, who has been in custody for 14 days, was remanded in custody until April 3 at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court.

Meanwhile Belfast’s High Court ruled on March 25 that six men held at Antrim RUC barracks in connection with shooting of two British soldiers and an RUC/PSNI member should be charged or released.

The court ruled that the continued detention of six people held over the shootings was illegal because the judge who ordered an extension of the detention period did not consider the legality of their original arrests.

Five people were released from custody following the High Court ruling but a solicitor acting for the sixth detainee, Colin Duffy, said his client had been re-arrested and he would be challenging this move.

On March 24 Republican Sinn Féin welcomes the release of two men from Antrim, saying that their unconditional release vindicated criticisms made by Republican Sinn Féin against the wide-scale raids and arrests conducted over the course of the past fortnight. It was clear that these were simply a propaganda exercise, and were not based on any investigations by the RUC.

Also on March 23 Republican Sinn Féin condemned the charging of a youth and a 37-year-old man, before a British court following their detention without charge for 13 and 14 days respectively by the British colonial police. The statement said that the extended nature of their detention called into serious question the veracity of any so-called ‘evidence’ being presented against them.”

It also reiterated their demand for the immediate release of all those remaining in Antrim RUC Barracks. Republican prisoners in Maghaberry jail were due to take part in a 24-hour fast in solidarity with those being held in Antrim for unprecedented periods of time on Tuesday March 24.

2. RSF VICE-PRESIDENT VISITS ITALY

ADDRESSING a conference in Italy entitled ‘Ireland and the struggle against imperialism’ Republican Sinn Féin Vice President Des Dalton said: “It is not enough to oppose imperialism abroad unless you are prepared to oppose it at home, you must be prepared to oppose it wherever it is found”.

The conference was held in the Italian town of Fermo on March 21 and was hosted by a local group of young political activists called ARIES Officina Nazional Popolare.

Des Dalton spoke about the events in Ireland and explained that the recent attacks in the Occupied Six Counties were the result of the continued British occupation. RSF representative in Italy, freelance journalist Massimiliano Vitelli gave an outline in Italian of the history of the struggle for Irish freedom. He also read an extract in Italian of the diary of Bobby Sands. The conference was attended by the assistant Mayor of Fermo as well as a number of local university academics and political activists.

On March 21 Des Dalton was welcomed to Fermo by the Mayor Saturnino Di Ruscio who made a presentation to the RSF Vice President. In turn Des presented the Mayor with a signed copy of the biography of Ruairí Ó Brádaigh.

Des Dalton also gave an extensive interview to the Italian daily newspaper Ilgiornale.

3. HUNGER STRIKE ‘DEAL’ PAPERS PUBLISHED

IT was reported on March 24 that new claims about a deal that could have ended the 1981 hunger strike have come to light in transcripts of an interview with one of Margaret Thatcher’s top aides.

The document shows Sir John Blelloch, a senior member of British intelligence who was seconded to the British ‘Northern Ireland Office’, say it was reaching agreement on the wording of a communication to prisoners which led to a fatal delay. What went wrong with the ‘deal’ has been the subject of much controversy over the years.

In an interview conducted at the British Ministry of Defence in 1986, Sir John Blelloch talks about the controversial breakdown in talks in the crucial days before west Belfast man Joe McDonnell, died after 61 days without food.

It gives an insight into the thinking of the British government in the crucial days before the fourth Republican hunger striker lost his life, escalating the protest to the point were six more men would die.

Blelloch, now retired and living in England, was seconded to the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) during the first and second hunger strikes before transferring back to the British MoD.

He would later serve as permanent under secretary at the NIO until 1990.

In the transcript he talks about the delay by the British government in getting a deal to the prisoners which could have ended the fast without further loss of life.

“The problem as always was seeing whether we could find some fresh statement of the government’s position, which abided by our principal objectives which we adhered to throughout the hunger strike but nevertheless constituted some sort of opportunity for the prisoners to come off it,” he said.

“As far as I remember the delay on that was actually getting final agreement to the text of what might be said, which was not easy, and in the event McDonnell died before that process could be completed and of course thereafter it collapsed.”

He also states that Margaret Thatcher had been unwilling to move on any of the prisoners’ demands and the proposed deal was solely intended to give the Republican prisoners a chance to come off the fast.

“There was absolutely no change in the government’s position on why it stood where it was, what was available to the prisoners and, insofar as one could say this in advance, what would happen as the protest ended.”

4. MAN REMANDED ON BAIL OVER NAIRAC ABDUCTION

A MAN charged in connection with the IRA abduction and disappearance of undercover British army officer Capt Robert Nairac more than 30 years ago was remanded on continuing bail when he appeared in court on March 18.

Kevin Crilly (58), from Lower Foughill Road, Jonesborough, Co Armagh, appeared briefly at Newry Magistrates Court on charges of assaulting and kidnapping Nairac in 1977. He denies the charges.

Nairac (29), from Gloucestershire, was abducted from Dromintee, Co Armagh on May 14, 1977. His body was never found.

The charges against Kevin Crilly were made after he was secretly filmed by the BBC for a Spotlight investigative programme which re-examined the murder in 2007.
The RUC/PSNI told an earlier hearing that the programme had prompted the reopening of the case and much of the evidence would come from it.

A prosecution lawyer told Judge Paul Copeland that the Crown was not yet in a position to proceed to a committal hearing because some of the evidence was not yet in a form acceptable to the court. The judge adjourned the case until April 15th. Kevin Crilly was remanded on continuing bail of £120,000.

5. MAN GUILTY OVER SECTARIAN ATTACK

ON March 25 a community worker from Fountain estate in Derry was given a six-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, over a sectarian attack in Derry on February 10, 2008.

Alan Gracie, 26, from Kennedy Street in Derry, assaulted the victim to such a degree that his teeth had to be reset. District Judge Barney McElholm described the crime as purely sectarian as the victim was perceived to be going out with a nationalist. Gracie was ordered to pay the victim £500 in compensation.

6. CHRONIC OVERCROWDING IN PRISONS

FIGURES released on March 15 show that there are 3,790 prisoners in the 26 Counties with bed capacity at 3,611 and that 13 of the 15 prisons are packed beyond capacity.
In Mountjoy in Dublin there are 108 women prisoners in the Dochas centre which has a bed capacity of 85 and 633 males for 540 beds. The Midlands in Portlaoise has bed capacity of 469 but houses 498 prisoners.

Overcrowding in prisons has proved to be counterproductive with rising tension, through lack of personal space, leading to violence. Within the confines of a prison rows escalate very quickly and can turn ugly in a flash.

As the prison population continues to increase so too does the violence. The use of prison for relatively minor offences, and a s first rather than last resort, should be discouraged as rehabilitation facilities are severely restricted due to overcrowding.

7. BRITISH IMMIGRATION AND BORDERS BILL

THE [British] Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Bill went through the committee stage in the House of Lords. It plans to introduce checks on people crossing the Border but full details are not available yet. Britain claims that an air and sea passport-free zone exists between Ireland, England, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man since 1920 but in reality people cannot travel between the countries without the use of a passport. Confusion still surrounds the issue of passport control on the ‘land border”, ie between the Occupied Six Counties and the 26 Counties

8. HET INVESTIGATE COLLUSION IN MURDER OF TWO TEENAGERS

THE Historical Enquiries Team is investigating a link between RUC informer Mark Haddock and the murder of two teenagers, Andrew Robb and David McIlwaine, according to a report on March 3.

Two Armagh contractors with links to the UVF were given British Government contracts despite being suspects in the murder of the two teenagers. The contracts were worth up to £15m for work on British army barracks. One of the contractors was UVF leader Richard Jameson. The other has never been named. The families of the two teenagers believe that at least one suspect in their murder was protected from prosecution because he was an RUC informer and said they will not rest until the find out the full truth and get justice.

9. BUGGING UNLAWFUL AND IN BREACH OF SUSPECTS RIGHT TO PRIVACY

THE British House of Lords ruled on March 11 that the bugging of lawyer-client consultations in police stations and prisons is unlawful and in breach of suspect’s right to privacy.

The ruling stated that while the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act permits such surveillance it must only be used in exceptional circumstances. However it did not find that such surveillance was a breach of the client’s right to a fair trial.

The judges questioned whether the British secretary of state still allowed the practice to continue: “Unless no surveillance of privileged and private consultation has been going on for the past year in the UK (which appears unlikely) this strongly suggests the government has been knowingly sanctioning illegal surveillance for more than a year.”

10. CIVIL CASE NEARS ITS END

THE case against five men being sued in a civil suit by relatives of six of the victims of the Omagh bombing in 1998 heard final submissions from lawyers for both sides. Judge Morgan will retire to consider his verdict within the next few days, according to reports on March 21.

During the month of March lawyers for Michael McKevitt told the High Court in Belfast that ‘surveillance logs contradicted supergrass and MI5/FBI double agent supergrass and MI5/FBI double agent David Rupert’s claims about Michael McKevitt attending a so-called RIRA army council meeting’ because he was placed elsewhere by the 26-County Special Branch at the time. This only came to light after Rupert had finished giving evidence against McKevitt in Dublin in 2003. Michael O’Higgins SC for Michael McKevitt accused Rupert’s intelligence service handlers of directing him to perjure himself when he appeared as a prosecution witness at that trial in 2003.

During the last week of March the credibility of supergrass and MI5/FBI double agent David Rupert and the main witness against Michael McKevitt, was questioned by
Michael O’Higgins.

Michael McKevitt is serving a 20 year sentence in Portlaoise prison for “directing terrorism” and is one of five men being sued O’Higgins said that David Rupert was a liar and a cheat who demanded $2 million to give evidence against McKevitt. Lawyers also stated that Rupert intended to set up a money laundering ship off the cost of Florida where the proceeds of drug dealing and prostitution would be laundered.

ENDS

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By Noel McAdam
Belfast Telegraph
Friday, 27 March 2009

PSNI Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde was today being urged to investigate remarks by Republican Sinn Fein for incitement to hatred.

A DUP delegation lead by First Minister Peter Robinson was also asking about the west Belfast offices of the political wing of Continuity IRA which admitted killing police constable Stephen Carroll.

MLA Jimmy Spratt, who was part of the delegation, said: “We will also be wanting to know what information the police have about these individuals and this organisation.”

At a news conference yesterday, the group’s publicity director, Richard Walsh, said the Irish people had the right to use “any level of controlled and disciplined force to drive the British out of Ireland.”

A police Land Rover parked outside the office watched on as those involved in the Press conference, including former Continuity IRA prisoner Josephine Hayden, left the building afterwards.

Mr Spratt, the former Police Federation spokesman, said today the remarks were “absolutely disgraceful and came as a bit of a shock”. He added: “We will be asking the chief constable to investigate these remarks for incitement to hatred. It was also noted that this group, made of individuals we know little or nothing about, appears to have offices in west Belfast.”

Ulster Unionist MLA David Burnside said the language used was a “throw back” to the 1970s but warned the group must be taken “very seriously”.

“I think it is quite worrying and hope they can be marginalised but, without over-reacting, I think we have to take them very seriously,” the South Antrim MLA said.

“I can understand Sinn Fein being worried because this is where Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness cut their teeth, when they split from the official IRA and what we are seeing here is the same transition.

“It needs to be dealt with quite quickly before there is growing support but do we have the necessary infiltration to be able to deal with them?”

At the Press conference Mr Walsh also complained about the length of the detention of suspects at Antrim police station and responded to the Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness’s description of those behind the recent killings as “traitors to the people of Ireland” by saying Mr McGuinness and Gerry Adams had been guilty of “severe treachery” and the Provisional IRA were now unionists.

“We have always upheld the rights to the Irish people to use any level of controlled and disciplined force to drive the British out of Ireland. We make no apology for that,” he said.

While admitting the deaths of soldiers Patrick Azimkar and Mark Quinsey and constable Stephen Carroll were “regrettable”, Mr Walsh said dissident republicans made no apology for “defending” themselves.

“The reality is that when you have occupation within a country there is invariably resistance, including armed resistance,” he added.

David Sharrock, Ireland Correspondent
Times
March 27, 2009

A prominent republican and former Provisional IRA prisoner was linked by DNA evidence to the murder of two soldiers by the Real IRA outside a Northern Ireland Army base earlier this month, a court heard today.

Colin Duffy was remanded in custody charged with the murders of Sappers Mark Quinsey, 23, of Birmingham, and Patrick Azimkar, 21, of London, who were shot dead at the gates of Massereene Barracks on Saturday, March 7, while they collected pizzas from delivery men.

The District Judge at Larne Magistrates’ Court said Duffy should reappear via video link at Antrim Magistrates’ Court on April 21. But Duffy’s solicitor Pat Vernon said that a challenge would be made to refusal to grant bail in Belfast High Court on Monday.

Duffy, from Lurgan, Co Armagh, was also charged with five counts of attempted murder – of three soldiers and two delivery men – and possession of arms and ammunition with intent.

As he arrived in the crammed courtroom, handcuffed and flanked by two armed officers, he smiled and nodded to his wife and family.

High-level security was also in place outside the court and on roads throughout the seaside town. A small group of loyalists stood outside the court.

Detective Chief Inspector Jeffrey Smyth told the court that DNA evidence found in the car used by the killers in their getaway linked Duffy to the killings.

He said: “This is not trace elements – this is a full DNA profile. It was inside a latex glove found on the floor of the Vauxhall Cavalier.”

But under questioning from Duffy’s counsel, he conceded that only the tip of the glove had been found.

Mr Smyth said the DNA profile was the only forensic evidence which has so far connected Duffy to the shootings but added: “There are over 1,000 exhibits in this case.”

He said exhibits were being examined in both Northern Ireland and in England but other results had so far come back negative.

Objecting to bail, he said there were three main strands to the prosecution case – the forensics, CCTV and witness evidence.

He said a witness could place the getaway car outside the barracks in the seconds before the attack.

Questioned by barrister Mark Mulholland, acting for Duffy, the detective said he objected to bail on the grounds that Duffy may reoffend, interfere with witnesses or abscond because of the potentially lengthy sentence he faced if found guilty.

He confirmed that Duffy had remained silent during interview except to deny involvement in the crime.

Mr Smyth said in his objection to bail: “These are very serious matters. If convicted he stands to be given a very substantial tariff which may serve as an inducement to abscond. If given bail there is a strong likelihood he may reoffend or interfere with witnesses.”

Mr Mulholland argued that District Judge Robert Alcorn should grant bail on the grounds that Mr Smyth had not given sufficient basis for it to be denied and remand in custody would be a contravention of Duffy’s human rights.

Mr Mulholland added that the evidence presented by the police against his client was poor.

However, the judge said he was not persuaded to grant bail even under the most stringent conditions.

As he was led from the dock, one of his children shouted “Take care Dad” and there were cheers and a round of applause from more than two dozen supporters, mainly women, sitting in the public gallery.

Outside, loyalists jeered and shouted abuse. One man punched the police vehicle in which Duffy was travelling as it drove away.

Duffy was arrested on March 14 and questioned extensively after police were twice given seven-day detention orders.

His lawyers launched a legal challenge in the High Court against his detention and he was freed, along with five other suspects, on Wednesday after Northern Ireland Lord Chief Justice Sir Brian Kerr ruled that his continued detention was unlawful.

While the other five were released, Duffy was re-arrested as he was leaving Antrim police station.

36 hours later he was charged with the murders and attempted murders.

Former RUC chief can’t explain lack of Wright intelligence files

By Emily Moulton
Belfast Telegraphl
Friday, 27 March 2009

Former Chief Constable Sir Ronnie Flanagan could not explain why intelligence documents relating to plans by the INLA to murder Billy Wright were absent from police records, an inquiry has heard.

Sir Ronnie, who was head of police from 1996 until 2002, told the Billy Wright Inquiry he could not explain why there were so few documents relating to the intelligence despite being Chief Constable at the time of the LVF leader’s death.

Earlier, the inquiry heard that the security service had received information about plans by the INLA to murder the loyalist boss eight months before his death. However there was some dispute over whether this information was passed to the RUC.

An investigation was carried out by former Assistant Chief Constable Samuel Kinkaid which found a reference that the intelligence had been passed in some form but could not find any hard evidence of this.

Chairman Lord MacLean told Mr Flanagan the inquiry found it “puzzling” there was very little information relating to the intelligence and asked him if he could explain why.

“I can’t offer any explanation other than it was never received in the way it was described,” Mr Flanagan said.

Mr Flanagan, who was head of Special Branch from 1995-1996, told the inquiry that the suggestion officers within the old RUC deliberately did not keep records so “nothing could be traced” was wrong.

Earlier, Lord MacLean, chairman of the inquiry, asked Mr Flanagan if he was aware former ACC Kinkaid had given evidence suggesting there was this culture within Special Branch.

He explained Mr Kinkaid even said he coined the phrase “plausible deniability” to explain the lack of records relating to his inquiries regarding the murder of Billy Wright at the Maze prison in 1997.

This phrase, he said, was then used by the Police Ombudsman Office in its reports.

“Assistant Chief Constable Kinkaid gave evidence yesterday of the phrase plausible deniability which was coined by him and used by the Police Ombudsman,”he said.

“I think by plausible deniability Mr Kinkaid was referring to the kind of practice and culture in Special Branch that you do not keep records so nothing could be traced back and then becomes plausible deniability. Am I clear?”

Responding to the suggestion, Mr Flanagan said: “You make it clear and I refute it. These are officers in my 40 years experience of policing, these officers are unsurpassed in their integrity, professional ability and determination to protect life.”

The hearing continues.

BBC
26 Mar 09

A man accused of murdering loyalist paramilitary leader Tommy English has been refused High Court bail.

Alex Wood, 33, of Milewater Way, Newtownabbey, is accused of murdering Mr English – a leading UDA figure – and membership of the rival UVF.

Mr English was shot dead at his home in the Ballyduff estate in October 2000.

Defence counsel Mark Farrell claimed the only evidence that Mr Wood was the gunman came from two Newtownabbey brothers who turned informers.

Mr Wood is one of 11 people to face charges following a new investigation by detectives from the Historicial Enquiries Team.

The case against the suspects is based on evidence supplied by Newtownabbey brothers David and Robert Stewart, who have pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting in the shooting.

Prosecutors claimed on Thursday that Mr Wood’s alleged role in firing the fatal shots put him “right at the pinnacle” of the assassination plot.

It was also claimed that he was a UVF commander when the killing was carried out.

Mr English, 40, was gunned down at his home on the Ballyduff estate, just outside north Belfast as part of a UDA-UVF feud.

‘Sledgehammer’

Opposing Wood’s bail application, a Crown lawyer said it was claimed that a four-man team went to the victim’s house to carry out the murder.

One of them was armed with a shotgun, another had a sledgehammer, while Woods carried a handgun, it was alleged.

He had volunteered to carry out one of the main roles, and took the handgun from another of the suspects because of the way he was waving it around, the prosecution alleged.

The defence counsel claimed the only evidence that Mr Wood was the gunman came from the Stewart brothers.

“We don’t know what happened in that house from the Stewarts’ evidence,” he argued.

Claiming there was a lack of any forensics to back the Crown case, Mr Farrell said a friend of Mr Wood was prepared to lodge a £10,000 cash surety to secure his release.

Mr Justice McLaughlin acknowledged opposition to bail was based on concern about possible interference with the ongoing investigation.

The judge said: “There is a backdrop, it is said by the prosecution, of intimidation of witnesses already and a direct threat has been made to Mrs English not to give evidence.”

He added: “The objections, set in the context of a serious offence, lead to the inevitable conclusion that bail cannot be granted in this case.”

By Gary McDonald Business Editor
Irish News
26/03/09

Sinn Fein wants to slash VAT in the Republic to keep southern shoppers at home – despite this potentially costing retailers in Newry, Derry, Strabane and Enniskillen millions of pounds.

Sinn Fein vice-president Mary Lou McDonald MEP was launching the party’s job retention and creation strategy document Getting Ireland Back to Work.

She called for a harmonisation of VAT rates across the island over an agreed period.

This is among 80 proposals that Sinn Fein believes are urgently required to improve job retention, job creation, all-Ireland economic spending and education and training.

The gap in VAT rates between the two jurisdictions has never been greater.

The rate in the Republic is 21.5 per cent after the government raised it from 21 per cent as of December 1.

Around the same time British prime minister Gordon Brown implemented a temporary cut from 17.5 per cent to 15 per cent in the north.

Sinn Fein said the Irish government’s failure to tackle the perpetual negative impact of the VAT differential on the island had not been acknowledged.

Ms McDonald said retailers, particularly along the southern side of border, were paying a heavy price.

The MEP – who will defend her Dublin seat in June – said the problem caused by two competing taxation regimes on the island had been an ongoing issue for retailers and service providers.

“In the current economic climate and with the sterling-euro exchange rate, this problem has been exasperated,” she said.

“Border county SMEs are taking the hardest hit and the potential job losses for the retail sector in the south is set to run into tens of thousands if something isn’t done.”

Traders’ organisations in the north, which has benefited from a cross-border boom, said they would fight proposals to slash VAT in the south.

“Towns and villages on the northern side of the border suffered catastrophic periods of trading over many years when taxation and exchange rates were less favourable to us,” a spokesman in Newry said.

“So it’s ironic that, when things have been going well for us over the last few months, politicians are desperate to deny us what might be only a temporary respite.”

Irish News
26/03/09

A second man has appeared in court accused of murdering north Belfast schoolboy Thomas Devlin nearly four years ago.

Nigel Brown (25) was charged by detectives investigating the fatal stabbing of the 15-year-old in August 2005.

Mr Brown, whose address was given as Maghaberry Prison, is further accused of attempting to murder and causing grievous bodily harm with intent to a friend of the victim.

He was remanded in custody following a brief hearing at Belfast Magistrates Court yesterday.

Thomas, pictured was knifed to death close to his home in the Fortwilliam area of the city as he and two friends returned from buying sweets.

Another of the group, Jonathan McKee, was also injured in the attack.

The parents of the murdered teenager were in court to hear a detective sergeant say he could connect Mr Brown with the offences.

During cross-examination the officer confirmed that no new evidence has emerged since a direction was given that he face more serious charges.

Mr Brown was due to be sentenced last Friday for an offence connected with the killing, only for the prosecution to seek an adjournment.

He will now be held in custody until a preliminary inquiry hearing takes place next month.

Another man, Gary Taylor (22), of Ross House in the Mount Vernon estate in north Belfast, has also been charged with murdering Thomas and the attempted murder of Jonathan McKee.

By Barry McCaffrey
Irish News
26/03/09

Three murder suspects released from police custody yesterday after their successful legal challenge could face rearrest within days.

At least three of the suspects in the fatal shooting of Sappers Mark Quinsey and Cengiz ‘Pat’ Azimkhar at Massereene British army barracks in Antrim could be taken into custody again when forensic tests are completed on a car believed to have been used in the attack.

New details of the police investigation against Colin Duffy and the three other suspects emerged last night.

The four were arrested on Saturday March 14, one week after the Antrim killings.

The following day Superintendent Peter Farrar, the officer leading the murder probe, applied for a five-day extension to continue questioning the four suspects.

The court hearing began that evening and continued late into the night.

It resumed at 9.30am the following morning and continued for seven hours until Judge David Smyth granted the extension.

It emerged during the hearing that the evidence against Duffy and two other suspects, Declan and Dominic McGlinchey, was based solely on intelligence.

Only the arrest of the fourth suspect, identified as ‘C’, was said to have been based on “evidence and information”.

Police interviews of the four suspects were completed within the five-day extension period lasting until March 20.

The following day police obtained a further seven-day extension. Despite this none of the four were questioned for four days.

On Monday lawyers for the four Massereene suspects and two suspects being questioned about the murder of Constable Stephen Carroll began a legal challenge against their continued detention.

The hearing itself was unusual as Duffy was brought from Antrim Police Station in handcuffs to attend the High Court.

Barry MacDonald QC, who represented the six suspects, argued that Judge Corinne Philpott had been wrong to grant police a seven-day extension because she had failed to determine whe-

ther the original arrests had been lawful.

That evening the case took another twist when Monica McWill-iams, head of the Human Rights Commission, visited the six at Antrim Police Station and expressed concern at the conditions in which they were being held.

Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde said he had visited the station and believed it was fit for purpose.

On Wednesday morning Northern Ireland’s most senior judge, Lord Chief Justice Brian Kerr, ruled that Judge Philpott had indeed failed to consider whether the original arrest of the six suspects had been lawful.

It last night emerged that the majority of forensic tests had been completed on the four by March 20 but had failed to provide any link to the killings.

However, test results on 100 swabs which had been sent to a laboratory in Britain had still to be received before the four were released yesterday morning.

Those results are understood to be due today.

Forensic results from a Vauxhall Cavalier believed to have been used in the Massereene attack are not expected to be completed until next Tuesday.

Irish News
26 Mar 09

DISSIDENT ARRESTS

The High Court victory for six people held over the dissident republican attacks in Antrim and Craigavon will have far-reaching implications for serious criminal investigations throughout Britain and Northern Ireland, lawyers claimed yesterday.

As five of the suspects were released following a ruling which quashed an extension to their detention period, legal representatives described it as a seminal judgment.

Lord Chief Justice Brian Kerr upheld their legal challenge after declaring it was wrong to allow police to hold them for a further seven days without reviewing the lawfulness of the original arrests.

Following the ruling one of the six, prominent republican Colin Duffy, was freed and then rearrested.

He and three others had been questioned about the shootings of British soldiers Mark Quinsey (23) and Cengiz ‘Pat’ Azimkhar (21) outside Massereene army barracks in Antrim on March 7.

The other two were arrested in connection with the mur-der on March 9 of Constable Stephen Carroll (48) in Craigavon, Co Armagh.

Police had been granted another seven days to hold them pending the results of forensic tests.

Under the Terrorism Act the suspects can be detained for up to 28 days before they must be charged or freed.

But legal representatives for those being held argued that the move was illegal and that no reasons were given for why it was considered necessary.

A panel headed by Sir Brian overturned the extension decision after concluding that the county court judge should have analysed the lawfulness of the applicants’ arrest.

Relevant sections of the Terrorism Act must be read in conformity with the requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights, Sir Brian said. On that basis a review of the lawfulness of detention must embrace an examination of the reasons for the arrest, he said.

“If it were otherwise, a person could be detained under the act for up to 28 days without there having been any judicial review of the lawfulness of the original arrest and that, in my view, could not be compliant with Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights,” Sir Brian said.

During the case, counsel for the PSNI had said detectives were working flat out and that the stakes were very high in an investigation of the highest significance to society.

All the detainees were grant-ed anonymity except Duffy.

It emerged during the case that one of the detainees was receiving medical attention.

The suspects’ lawyers maintained that the county court judge had failed to explain why she felt it was necessary to detain them further.

Although four grounds of challenge to her decision were brought, Sir Brian said she had been wrong on just one.

“By reason only of the judge’s conclusion that she was precluded from considering the lawfulness of the applicants’ arrest I have decided that her decision must be quashed,” he said.

After the ruling the legal firm which had represented four of those who issued proceedings said it would lead to a complete review into the way police may try to justify lengthy detention periods.

“It is a seminal judgment and has far-reaching implications for the conduct of serious police investigations throughout the UK,” the statement from Kevin R Winters & Co read.

“The judgment now makes it very clear that police still need to show reasonable suspicion to justify the arrest and continued detention of persons under the Terrorism Act.

“At no point throughout the detention period were such reasons provided to anyone including the County Court and the High Court. The amendment introduced to the Terrorism Act purported to remove judicial scrutiny of powers of arrest and detention.

“This decision reaffirms the courts’ powers of intervention and highlights how they will remain vigilant to any threat of unjustified interference with a person’s liberty.”

BBC

Prominent dissident republican Colin Duffy has been remanded in custody charged with the murders of two soldiers outside a barracks in Antrim.

Mr Duffy, 41, appeared at Larne Magistrates Court on Friday morning.

Mr Duffy was remanded in custody until 21 April

A PSNI chief inspector said the main evidence against the 41-year-old was DNA on a latex glove discovered in a Vauxhall Cavalier car.

“This is not trace elements – this is a full DNA profile,” the officer told the court.

“It was inside a latex glove found on the floor of the Vauxhall Cavalier.”

The chief inspector later conceded that only the tip of the glove had been found.

>>Who is Colin Duffy?

A Vauxhall Cavalier, believed to have been driven by sappers Patrick Azimkar and Mark Quinsey’s killers, was abandoned outside nearby Randalstown after the shootings.

Objecting to bail, the chief inspector said there were three main planks of the prosecution case – forensics, CCTV and witness evidence.

Angry scenes as Colin Duffy leaves court: >>Video

He said a witness could place the getaway car outside the barracks in the seconds before the attack.

A defence barrister said that Mr Duffy had remained silent during interview except to deny involvement in the killings.

He added that the case against his client was “very poor” and “lacked weight at this juncture”.

Mr Duffy was remanded in custody until 21 April to appear at Antrim Magistrates Court.

In addition to the two murder charges, Mr Duffy was also charged with five counts of attempted murder and one of having a firearm and ammunition.

Applause

As he was led from the dock there were cheers and a round of applause from more than two dozen supporters, mainly women, sitting in the public gallery.

Sappers Azimkar and Quinsey, from London and Birmingham respectively, were shot collecting pizza at the Massereene barracks on 7 March.

On Thursday six suspects in the murders, including Mr Duffy, were released by the High Court after a legal challenge to their detention.

Mr Duffy was freed but re-arrested at Antrim police station a short time later.

The murder of the soldiers was followed by the killing of Constable Stephen Carroll in Craigavon two days later.


The soldiers were the first murdered in NI in 12 years

Two men, a 17-year-old youth and a former Sinn Féin councillor, 37-year-old Brendan McConville, have been remanded in custody charged with the murder of Constable Carroll.

A 21-year-old man has been remanded in custody accused of withholding information in relation to the policeman’s murder.

The dissident republican Real IRA shot Sappers Azimkar and Quinsey outside Massereene barracks, while the dissident republican Continuity IRA claimed the murder of Constable Carroll.

Four other people, including two pizza delivery men – Anthony Watson, 19, from Antrim and a Polish man in his 30s – were injured in the attack on the County Antrim barracks.

The two young soldiers were the first to be murdered in Northern Ireland in 12 years.

BBC


Ted Cunningham has been found guilty of 10 counts of money laundering

Irish financial adviser Ted Cunningham has been found guilty of laundering more than £3m in cash from the £26.5m Northern Bank robbery.

Cunningham, 60, of Farran, County Cork, who faces up to 14 years in jail, will be sentenced next month.

A majority of the jury at Cork Criminal Court found him guilty on 10 charges.

A gang stole the money from the headquarters of the Northern Bank in Belfast in December 2004 in a raid blamed on the IRA.

NORTHERN BANK TIMELINE
20 December 2004 a gang steals £26.4m from the headquarters of the Northern Bank in Belfast. The raid is blamed of the IRA.
February 2005 £2.3m is seized from the house in Farran, County Cork, of money lender Ted Cunningham.
November 2005 11 people in Northern Ireland questioned about the raid. Three are charged, including bank employee Chris Ward.
January 2007 Charges against two people are dropped in Belfast. The case against Chris Ward is scheduled to proceed.
March 2008 Ted Cunningham is charged with money laundering cash connected to the Northern Bank raid.
October 2008 The case against Chris Ward collapses in Belfast.
March 2009 After a 10 week trial at Cork Circuit Cork Ted Cunningham is found guilty of money laundering.

The money lender said £2.3m found in the basement of his home in February 2005 came from the sale of a gravel pit in Offaly to Bulgarian businessmen.

>>Who is Ted Cunningham?

Cunningham’s 33-year-old son, Timothy, had pleaded guilty, near the start of his father’s 10-week long trial to four charges of money laundering arising out of the Belfast cash centre robbery.

After a brief adjournment on Judge Murphy called the parties back into the courtroom and remanded Cunningham in custody.

“I will remand him in custody for two reasons,” said the judge.

“The seriousness of the charges and the course of the case.”

The formerly well-respected businessman held back tears as he hugged his partner and family members, including an inconsolable Timothy Cunningham Jnr.

He also made a quick telephone call and shook hands with his barristers and gardai working in the court, thanking them for their work, before he was led away by prison officers.

Both he and his son – who remains on bail – will be sentenced on Friday, 24 April.

Irish police claimed that, under interrogation, the money lender said he was given £4.9m from an unidentified male in a Northern Ireland registered car, whom he met on four occasions.

During the trial Cunningham said he only signed the written recording of the interview because police had terrified him and threatened to leak that he had named IRA names in custody, something, he believed that would have resulted in his murder.

The jury retired on Thursday and reconvened for more deliberations on Friday morning.

Cunningham clutched rosary beads and his lips trembled as the jury returned to the courtroom after four hours and 40 minutes and returned majority verdicts on all the charges he faced.

BBC
26 Mar 09

Two loyalists who used a police database to gather information on nationalists have had their sentences referred to the Court of Appeal.


The case was heard at Belfast Crown Court last month

Aaron Hill of Mainebank, Randalstown, and Darren Richardson of Moneynick Road, Randalstown, were given suspended sentences at Belfast Crown Court last month.

Both were members of a flute band and had gathered details of the names and addresses of 62 nationalists in the Randalstown area.

The case was referred to the Attorney General who said if the Court of Appeal finds the sentences unduly lenient it has the power to increase them.

SDLP MLA Patsy McGlone has welcomed the move.

He said:”In light of the seriousness of the offences and the ongoing fear caused to many innocent people at the fact that their details were in the possession of paramilitaries, my constituents and I have shared a deep concern at the levity of sentence in both cases.

“In the interest of justice and that the sentence should reflect the gravity of these particular offences; I am delighted that the Attorney has taken action to investigate this disturbing case.”

Bobby Sands mural photo
Ní neart go cur le chéile

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