‘This has gone past the issue of [the] appeal. This has become intimidation in my view and I think a number of people in this room will agree with me, it’s now intimidation – Darragh Mackin.
A SOLICITOR for one of the men convicted of Constable Stephen Carroll’s muder has accused the PSNI of “intimidation” of defence lawyers in the case and said he was “terrified” that he would be arrested for representing his client.
Darragh Mackin made the remarks during a public discussion organised by supporters of Co Armagh men Brendan McConville and John Paul Wotton who were convicted of shooting the officer dead in Craigavon in 2009. McConville, from Lurgan, was jailed for a minimum of 25 years while Wotton (21), from Craigavon, was told he will have to serve at least 14 years following their trial in 2011. Both men have continued to protest they had no part in the Continuity IRA sniper attack. Campaigners and the men’s legal teams have raised questions about eyewitness and forensic evidence. Last Friday Mr Mackin claimed that the PSNI had attempted to “undermine” an appeal hearing that was due to be held in April. He confirmed that his office has contacted the UN special rapporteur in connection with the case. Controversy erupted on the day of the appeal was due to begin after a defence barrister claimed police had attempted to “sabotage” the hearing.
It was also revealed that a new defence witness was arrested and questioned by police before being released without charge days before the appeal was due to begin. McConville’s legal team bbelieve they and the new witness had been under security-force surveillance in the lead-up to the appeal hearing, which will now be held in October. The solicitor says he and a colleague, Peter Corrigan, feared that that they too would be arrested.
“I will never forget the day when we went down to Brendan McConville’s appeal, obviously with members of the farmily, and it’s an absolutely terrifying fact to think there’s a chance – and Peter would agree with me on this – that me or him or both of us will be arrested at that point in time,” he said. “This has gone past the issue of [the] appeal. This has become intimidation in my view and I think a number of people in this room will agree with me, it’s now intimidatIon.” A PSNI spokesman said: “Since this matter is currently before the courts, we are unable to comment.” Shame Fein policing board member Pat (the rat) Sheehan told those at the discussion that the case “looks like a clear mmiss carriage of justice”. A PSNI spokesman said: “As a member of the board, Mr Sheehan will have opportunities to raise issues with senior officers in both open and private sessions.”
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