Coroner in Sean Brown murder, Bellaghy, threatens court action over report

“Unless the HET report is provided in 14 days I will go to the High Court – Mr John Leckey, Coroner’s Office.

THE North’s most senior coroner has threatened to go to court to force Chief Constable Matt (the maggot) Bagott to release the report into the murder of Derry GAA official Sean Brown.

The devolopment came during a preliminary inquest hearing yesterday, the father-of-six’s abduction and brutal killing in May 1997. Mr Brown’s family, their legal team and the Coroner’s Office have been denied access to a Historical Enquiries Team (HET) report which was completed last year. The investigation was launched after the Brown family raised concerns about the police investigation into the sectarian murder, one the most shocking of the Troubles. In an unusual move, Mr John Leckey warned a solicitor acting for the RUC/PSNI yesterday that he would seek a High Court subpoena compelling it to hand over the report. He said he has been “dealing with the inquest for Sean Brown for years and years”. “Unless the HET report is provided in 14 days I will go to the High Court….. to require the chief constable to produce the report to me,” he said. He added that to seek the subpoena was “a procedure of last resort as far as I am concerned”. During the short hearing Mr Leckey also insisted the start date for an inquest into the circumstances of Mr Brown’s death was “set in stone”. It is due to begin in January next year. Mr Brown was abducted while locking the gates of Bellaghy Wolf Tone’s GAA club, of which he was chairman. It is believed the 61-year-old was driven past Toomebridge RUC station to a secluded laneway near Randalstown in Co An trim where he was shot in the head six times. His body was later found beside his burning car.

The LVF is believed to have been responsible for the killing which sent shockwaves through the GAA community. Speaking after yestery’s hearing, the Brown family solicitor Kevin Winters said Mr Leckey’s comments represent “a major breakthrough in the fight for justice for the family of Sean Brown”.992987_534312249950028_1214318567_n Paul O’ Conner from the Pat Finucane Centre, who attended the hearing with Mr Brown’s son, accused the RUC/PSNI of “dragging their heels for years”. “They have not produced the documention required by the coroner to carry out a proper inquest,” he said. “This has caused untold distress for the Brown family.” A spokesman for the RUC/PSNI last night said: “PSNI are aware of the comments made by the coroner, Mr John Leckey, today and are considering these in relation to the report. Meanwhile a preliminary hearing into the death of Catholic teenager Gerard Lawlor has heard that an investigation by the Police Ombudsman has been given a “new impetus” since ombudsman Michael Maguire took up office in July 2012. Mr Lawlor, a father-of-one, was shot dead by the UDA as he walked close to the Antrim Road in July 2002. A represtative of the ombudsman’s office told the coroner John Leckey that the delay in producing the report into the 19-year-old’s murder was down to “some matters inhibiting our ability to move forward”. “I don’t want to go into details to what they are,” he said. The Lawler family solicitor, Niall Murphy, said he had met with representatives of the Police Ombudsman and had “no objections” to their submissions to the ccoroner.

With many thanks to: Connla Young, The Irish News.

 

I’M ALREADY LOW ON NEW YEAR OPTIMISM

“Seen this in The Sunday (lies) World and had to repost”.

IN A couple of days we’ll be taking down the decosions, locking up the 12-year-old Scotch malt that’s only brought out at Christmas and contemplating another year!!!

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The New Year is traditionally a time for optimism, sadly down the years ours has been wasted and without wishing to be a seasonal grump I’m not sure how long our optimism can take it. We’re getting used to being let down, but you have to hope don’t you? Things have to change eventually so why not in 2014. First thing that needs to change is the Chief Constable. Matt (maggot) Baggott has an unenviable task as head of the PSNI/RUC but he has shown he is simply not up to the job, whether its because of political pressure, his failure to handle the UVF has been spectacular. He was ill advised to have attended the PUP conference as the keynote speaker last year but he clearly can’t learn from his mistakes. With the UVF orchestrating night after night of street violence as the fleg protests swung into action the PSNI’s/RUC softly softly approach simply handed control of the streets to the terror group. His officers were expected to stand on the front line and take a battering – night after night – and when the PSNI/RUC did a deal allowing the UVF to police their own parades it was confirmation that the lunatics really had taken over the asylum. And if that wasn’t bad enough he insisted the UVF’s ceasefire remains intact, despite more than 30 murders since they claimed they put their guns beyond use and more recently the attemped murder of Jemma McGrath in East Belfast.

Excuse

293290_171098439636605_1085904647_nIn the wider context we need the Orange Order to wise up. The outside world looks in and wonders what these strange wee men in bowler hats and collarettes are all about. Their intolerance and open hatred of all things Catholic is hard for anyone to grasp. And accommodating tolerant Orange Order would, in one fell swoop, disarm all those who want to see it condemned to the history books. The Order gives bigots an excuse, take it away and they fall. On the other side of the house the Shinners must be hoping that Gerry Adams‘ (pedo protector) closet isn’t any bigger. With the number of skeletons already out it resembles the Tardis! The Shame Fein president has been left damaged by his continued denial of IRA membership, allegations of involvement in the abduction and murder of Jean McConville refuse to go away and his handling of sex abuse claims levelled against his brother further wrecked his creditability. He is fast becoming a leader in name only – people simply don’t trust him anymore. Maybe 2014 will be a time the Shinners started looking for a new star. It’s not asking much but if we manage to secure these changes and the North of Ireland manage to win the match 2014 mightn’t be too bad.

With many thanks to: Richard Sullivan, The Sunday World.

Deputy Chief Constable (Gerry Kelly’s bitch) to retire three years after turning down Patten £500k

‘Judith has made an enormous contribution to policing in the North of Ireland– Anne Connolly.

The North of Ireland‘s most senior female officer on Friday announced her intention to take early retirement, less than a year after turning down a £500,000 payout to remain in the service.

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Deputy Chief Constable Judith Gillespie had been widely tipped as the frontrunner to replace Matt Baggott (maggot) as chief constable when his contract ends next year. With 32 years of policing experience she made history as the first female assistant chief constabe in 2004 before being promoted to her present role in 2009. The Policing Board was told of her plans on Friday. Although Ms Gillespie is expected to receive a lucrative redundancy package, she will not be entitled to the £500,000 she would have received under the Patten arrangements. The deadline to avail of the scheme aimed at readdressing the religious imbalance of the police service ended in March 2011. At the time Ms Gillespie said she decided against taking the package because policing “is about far more than the financial rewards”. Her job is to be advertised in the new year. She will vacate the post on March 31. Althouh Ms Gillespie has not made public her post-PSNI plans sources say she has been approached by an international privite-security firm to act as a consultant.

A PSNI/RUC spokesman said: “We can confirm that Deputy Chief Constable Judith Gillespie has notified the Policing Board of her intention to retire from the Police Service of Northern Ireland. “She has served as deputy chief constable for the past four and a half years and has served a total of 32 years as both a member of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) GC and PSNI. “PSNI will not be making any further comment at this stage.” Board chairwoman Anne Connolly said: “Judith has made an enormous contribution to policing in the North of Ireland. “As a chief officer, deputy chief constable Grillespie has provided strong leadership to the service in driving forward a programme of policing change and reform. “A strong advocate for women in policing, Judith championed the introduction of the first gender action plan and diversity strategy for policing in the North of Ireland. “A positive role model, Deputy Chief Constable Gillespie has used her wide-ranging experience to provide inspiration and encouragement to officers and staff both within the Northern Irish community and within policing nationally and internationally.” The DUP’s Policing Board group leader, Jonathan Craig MLA said Ms Gillespie “can look back with pride on a number of distinguished achievements throughout her 32 years of service”. “Undoubtedly, this accomplishment still acts as an inspiration to others. Whilst we may have taken differing views on a range of matters at the board, I wish Deputy Chief Constable every success for her future wherever that may lead,” he said.

Top dissident republicans taken off the streets

British Internment alive and ongoing in the 32 Counties of Ireland !!!

THREE of the North’s most senior dissident republicans have been taken off the streets after a second Belfast city centre attack. With a manhunt under way on both sides of the border for a firebomber injured by his own device, the three dissident chiefs were charged on Tuesday with an array of serious offences.

Colin Duffy, Alec McCrory and Harry Fitzsimmons all have a history of republican activism dating back to the Provisional IRA. Dissident republicans have been particularly active in the run-up to Christmas with shots fired at police in North and West Belfast, a bomb left in an entertainment area of the city on one of the busiest nights of the year and an attempt on Monday to firebomb a city centre shop. The trio, in their forties and fifties, were arrested on Sunday, 48 hours after a bomb exploded in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter while it was packed with Christmas parties. Duffy is accused of IRA membership and plotting to murder security-force members. McCrory and Fitzimmons are charged with attempting to murder police officers travelling on Crumlin Road in North Belfast on December 5. All three are also charged with conspiracy to possess firearms and explosives with intent to endanger life and belonging to a proscribed organisation. McCrory and Fitzisimmons face further charges of aiding and abetting the possession of a firearm. The alleged offences cover a period between January 1 and December 16 this year.

Amid heavy security at Belfast Magistrates Court, supporters of the three accused packed the public gallery on Tuesday. At one stage the defendents declined to stand up as some of the charges were put to them. A detective said he could connect them to the charges and no applications for bail were made during the short hearing. The trio waved at friends who clapped as they were remanded in custody to appear again by videolink in four weeks’ time. Meanwhile, two arrests were made outside the court complex as tensions heightened briefly. There were minor scuffles amid a heavy police presence at the Oxford Street exit as supporters of Duffy, McCrory and Fitzimmions left the building. North Belfast men Daniel Lundy and Aidan Fergusion, both from Ardoyne, were arrested and taken to Musgrave Police Station and charged with assaulting police, disorderly behaviour and resisting police. They were released on bail to appear before Belfast Magistrates Court on January 13.

With many thanks to: The Irish News.

Age of bomb blast suspect may be preventing release of image

Police urge public to review own photos.

POLICE believe they have an image of a suspect involved in the dissident republican bomb blast in Belfast city centre caught on camera.

Latest CCTV footage of suspected dissident bomber released by PSNI/RUC HQ

A senior PSNI officer said detectives hunting the dissident republicans behind the Belfast city centre bombing had captured an image of a male following an extensive trawl through CCTV footage from the scene. However, despite originally saying the image would be made public, hours later a police spokesman said they were not ready to release it. There was speculation on Monday night that the image is not of the individual suspected of leaving the device on the footpath, but someone else potentially involved in the dissident operation. It is understood legal issues – one being the apparent young age of the male photographed – could prevent its release. Assistant chief constable Will Kerr, who made the announcement that an image of the suspect had been identified, said the male could also have been caught on other camera. He said that “active community information” was important to finding those responsible and urged the public to review any photographs or videos taken on Friday evening as they may have unwittingly taken a picture of those involved.”If they are in any doubt contact us and let detectives screen through the footage, let us have a look at it and see if it can help the investigations – it is very important that they do.”

The 60kg device was left outside Salt Bistro at St Anne’s Square and exploded less than an hour after the alarm had been raised. The bomb warning was rreceived by The Irish News from someone claiming to represent dissident republican group Oghlaigh na hEireann (ONH). Mr Kerr on Monday joined PSNI cheif constable Matt Baggott and Belfast lord mayor Martin O’Muilleoir on a walkabout in Belfast city centre, visiting the scene of Friday’s blast and touring the Continental Market at city hall. Speaking to the media at city hall, Mr Baggott said those responsible for the bomb were “clearly intent”, but added that they would not succeed in dragging Belfast and the North of Ireland back to the past. “These groups are simply reckless, their actions are despicable,” he said. “To bring a bomb into a city centre in the lead up to Christmas is beyond belief really, that is why we do need (public help) – any single piece of information could make a difference to us. “We are determined to bring these people to justice.” He added that police were doing everything they could to keep the city safe, but could not provide a total guarantee that there would not be another attack. There has been speculation that a group of senior police who were on a nighr out in Cathedral Quarter may have been the intended targets of the bomb. However, Mr Kerr on Monday night said “at this stage” there was “nothing to suggest” that was the case. He described the bomb as a “functional device that could have killed” and said while tests were still being carried out, initial examinations suggested it had exploded entirely.

With many thanks to: Suzanne McGonagle, The Irish News.

‘ATTEMPTS TO MAKE ME A POLICE INFORMER LOST ME MY JOB’

‘They can lose me as many jobs as they want buy I am never going to work for [them] – Matt Johnston, pictured

A BELFAST man has claimed he lost his job after attempts were made to recruit him as a police informer. Matt Johnston, from the republican New Lodge area, said police seized his car outside an east Belfast warehouse where he worked last month.

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According to the father-of-two who has previous convictions, officers demanded to search his car at Castlereagh PSNI station after earlier raiding the house in north Belfast where his children live and visiting a recruitment agency in search of him. He says that while later walking to the station to pick up his car he was approached by two men as he walked along Dill Street, close to the former RUC interrogation centre.The 32-year-old says the men asked him to supply information about two Belfast-based republicans and refereed to his former membership of a residents group set up to support people in Carrick Hill opposed to loyalist parades past St Patrick‘s Church.

Johnston says that during the encounter the men told him they could arrange for him to lose his job. In June 2012 he was sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to taking part in a tiger kidnap robbery in 2008. He served nine months in Maghaberry and was released last March due to time already served on remand. “Is this their new tactic, if you don’t work for us we will starve you into it?” he asked. “554902_127331307455451_502011840_n-1They wanted to rattle my cage and ttest the water with me to see what I was made of. They can lose me as many jobs as they want but I am never going to work for [them].” Politicians have routinely defended the use of informers to combat dissident Republican attacks. UUP justice minister Tom Elliot recently said that while everyone has the right to question security force tactics “they also have a right to prevent any acts of criminality and I support their right to do that”. A spokeswoman for the PSNI said: “We do not comment on intelligence matters and no inference should be drawn from this.”

With many thanks to : Connla Young, The Irish News.

HET COLLAPSE EXPOSES GOVERNMENTS’ FAILINGS

It’s clear that the HET is dead. That means there’s nothing to provide any resolution for families wondering how or why relatives were killed.

IT IS worth reading Patricia Lundy’s first article on the Historical Enquires Team (HET) published in 2009 because it raised a lot of questions above and beyond the fiasco that she revealed the HET to be. She produced her findings under the auspices of the excellent Transitional Justice Institute at University of Ulster so the article examined academically a variety of approaches to dealing with the past in societies that have emerged from conflict.

THE TRUTH COST NOTHING - COVER-UP'S COST MILLIONS

Her work on the HET took the form of a case study. It now appears the HET is a case study in how not to do it. Dr Lundy was in on the ground floor, so to speak. Hugh Order set up the HET in 2005 and she began her work in August 2005, completing her study in December 2007. Orde gave her unprecedented access to the workings of the HET so she saw how the organisation developed almost from the beginning. Orde left the PSNI in 2009 and was succeeded by Matt Baggott. Did Baggott ever read Lundy’s article and if he did, why did he do nothing about it? Stephen Otter of HMIC said in his report : “What is indefensible is that she did make these findings in 2009, so for four years nothing was being done to address those findings and I do find that is very difficult to believe.” That question needs to be addressed to Baggott. The HET reported to the chief constable. The PSNI controlled its finance and its purse strings. What was Baggott doing? If the HET is a unit of the PSNI then surely there should have been some supervision? Yet Otter makes it clear there wasn’t. Otter said : “I do think [Lundy] deserves an apology from the chief constable on behalf of the PSNI.” What she got from Baggot was, to say the least, less than fulsome. He inserted that weasel word ‘if’, regularly employed nowadays to wriggle out of an outright apology. Baggott offered her an apology “if she felt her concerns were not taken seriously enough”. In fact, the HET and Baggott’s PSNI both rejected her conclusions as recently as the beginning of this year.

Baggott tried to claim to the BBC that the preferential treatment of military killings was ‘on a case-by-case basis’. Otter said it was a ‘policy’ and an illegal one at that. The preferential treatment of military killings exposed as illegal completely vindicates Dr Lundy’s findings but has managed to obscure one of the most damning conclusions in her origional article in 2009, namely that in the HET “all aspects of intelligence are managed  by former RUC and Special Branch officers”. They made up the majority of the HET’s intellidence unit. Lundy went on to say “the strategic positioning of former RUC officers and particularly those with a Special Branch background not only undermines actual but perceived independence”. She concluded that for various reasons “the old guard’ kept a grip of the essential areas of HET businness”. That was not any prejudice on Lundy’s part. After a European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) case – Brecknell v UK – the ECHR required the HET to provide investigative teams who have no previous history with the RUC. Lundy pointed out that they didn’t. Did Baggott, who spent most of this year presnting his own interpretation of Article2 of the Human Rights Act as a reason for PSNI inaction, not know the HET’s practice was not complying with ECHR requirements? Why not? Why did the PSNI ignore her report? Where was Baggott? On the wider front it’s clear the HET is dead. That means there’s nothing tonprovide any resolution for families wondering how or why relatives were killed. The HET was never intended or expected to be the answer but it was all there was. Its ignomijious collapse exposes the failures of the British and Irish governments to produce something along the lines of Eames-Bradley which the previous Labour government ran away from in 2009 using the pathetic pretex of the suggestion of £12,000 per person as a reason for binning the whole report. The two governments have questions to answer but so has Matt Baggott. Sinn Fein are wrong to accept Dave Cox as a scapegoat.

With many thanks to : Brian Feeney, The Irish News.

MP URGES PLEDGE FOR ARRESTS OVER MASSACRE

THE PSNI is facing new demands to explain why it has not made any fresh arrests over the UVF massacre at Loughinisland

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As the 19th anniversary of the atrocity in the village nears, South Down MP Margaret Ritchie is seeking assurances from the Chief Constable that police have not given up on catching the killer gang. Miss Ritchie has written to Matt Baggott demanding assurances in the wake of the serious crime review. The Sunday World first revealed this year that Assistant Chief Constable Drew Harris, who was leading the review of evidence gathered by detectives after the UVF murders of six Catholics at the HiHeights Bar in June 1994, had completed the review.

JUSTICE

“It is vital that there is justice for the families of the six men killed in Loughinisland, and the five seriously injured,” said the SDLP MP. “If there is an opportunity to bring prosecutions as a result of a re-examination of the evidence, then it should be taken.” The PSNI has refused to reveal if the review has thrown up any new leads. But Miss Ritchie pointed out that 19 years after the massacre, there has not been one single prosecution. In former Ombudsman All Hutchinson’s 2011 report he ruled out security force or police collusion in the murders. But the families overturned that finding following a Judicial RReview last December. The new Ombudsman Michael Maguire is currently carrying out a new investigation. Relatives of the six men maintain the RUC and its successor, the PSNI, have had enough evidence to bring charges against members of the East Belfast-based UVF gang. They suspect a number of RUC agents operating inside the UVF were involved in the murders. The six men who were murdered included 87 year-old Barney Green and his nephew Dan McCreanor. Adrian Rogan; brothers-in-law Eamon Byrne and Patsy O’Hare, and Malcolm Jenkinson also died.

With many thanks to : Richard Sullivan, Sunday World.

TALKS IN WALES EVIDENCE OF ‘POLITICAL POLICING’ : LOYALISTS

‘Their political policing strategy has had disastrous consequences over the past four months – John Wilson.

A GROUP set up by loyalist flag protesters has branded plans byconsequences the PSNI/RUC to hold talks in Wales with politicians and community represdestroyed s ahead of the marching sseason as evidence of “political policing”. The Ulster People’s Forum (UPF) last night said it had not received a request to take part in talks and would have turned down an invite if asked.

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“The UPF view is that the PSNI have been clear their job is policing and we feel they shouldl stick to this remit as their political policing strategy has had disastrous consequences over the past four months with relationships in some loyalist areas almost detroyed to the point of no return,” forum chairman John Wilson said. It emerged this week that the PSNI/RUC in conjunction with Univeristy of Ulster academic Duncan Morrow, has invited representatives of pilitical parties to Cardiff next weekend to discuss policing issues ahead of the summer marching season. Tensions continue in parts of Belfast around loyal parades including Ardoyne and outside St Patrick’s church in Donegall Street.

Policing reached crisis point  during the winter as loyalists blocked roads and attacked police and Alliance politicians in the wake of the decision by Belfast City Council to stop flying the Union Flag every day. The UPF was formed weeks after the flag protests started in December with leading protesters Jamie Bryson and Willie Frazer emerging as spokesmen. This week PSNI/RUC chief constable Matt Baggott said the meeting was an attempt to build relationships “with a veiw to this summer’s parading”. It emerged last night that neither the Orange Order or represtatives of nationalist residents’ groups in flashpoint districts had been invited to attend the Cardiff event. Mr Wilson of the UPF conceded that the number of flag-related protests was well down compared to previously but blamed police tactics which he described as “political policing”. “There  are a lot of people out there with wives, familes and jobs and they can’t afford to be arrested or questioned.” Orange Order grand chaplain the Rev Mervyn Gibson confirmed last night he had been invited to attend the talks through a church group with which he is involved but he declined because of a prior engagement. He confirmed that the Orange Order itself had not been invited to attend the talks.

With thanks to : Connia Young, Irish News.

CHIEF CONSTABLE STAYS SILENT ABOUT OFFICERS SUING VICTIMS !

” The public expression of disapproval by the chief constable of Norfolk is a useful benchmark ” – Alban Maginness.

CHIEF Constable Matt Baggott remained silent on Tuesday in the face of appeals to fellow police cchief who branded an officer threatening to sue a victim of a crime ” disappointment “. Norfolk Chief Constable Phil Gormley said the actions of PC Kelly Jones had undermined the public’s trust in police.

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She began legal proceedings against a petrol station owner after tripping over a kerb when responding to a burglary report. The high-profile case comes a week after it emerged PSNI/RUCofficers injured when chasing car thrives in North Belfast were suing owners of the stolen vehicles for damages. The civil claims, for injuries suffered when stopping the cars, were made against car owners even though they were not involved in the thefts or crashes. Despite the injuries happening while on duty, the PSNI/RUC has continued to insist that they were a ” private matter ” for officers.

This was not the attitude taken by Mr Gormley who criticised his own officer and stressed she did not represent the attitude of the ” vast majority “. “It is a dissappointment to us and I do understand why it has caused such a public reaction,” he said. “In 27 and a half years in the service, this is the first time I have ever personally come across a set of circumstances like that. “The vast majority of officers perform their work brilliantly well, they are aware of the risks, and in fact many people are attracted by the risk and the variety of a police career. “It is surprising and disappointing, I think, for the majority of our staff that an incident like this has undermined confidence in how we do our job.” PC Jones is reported to have since abandoned the claim after talks between senior officers and her Police Federation representatives.

SDLP justice spokesman Alban Maginness, who has constituents amoung those being sued in Belfast, said Mr Baggott, pictured above, or his deputies should follow suit. “I think that the PSNI/RUC at a senior level should reflect carefully on the veiws expressed by the chief constable of Norfolk and whether in fact the PSNI/RUC should be taking this as a matter of public policy rather simply leaving it up to private litigation between officers and victims of crime,” he said.”The public expression of disapproval by the chief constable of Norfolk is a useful benchmark for the PSNI/RUC here on what council should be given to officers.” However, the PSNI/RUC said on Tuesday Mr Baggott ” won’t be putting out a generalised quote about police suing”. Instead it repeated the service’s stated position that it “would not hold any information in relation to police officers making  a compensation claim against the owner of a stolen vehicle”.'”Each incident would very much depend on the individual circumstances and the insurance arrangements in place,” it said.”Therefore this would be a private matter between the iindividual officer, like any other citizen, and the insurance company involved. Such information is not recorded or required by police.”

With many thanks to : Bimpe Archer, Irish News.

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