IRA men were shot in the back by SAS soldiers

HET findings published as Haass talks break up without agreement -into ‘Shot-to-Kill’ policy’s in the North of Ireland.

TWO IRA men were shot in the back by SAS soldiers in Co Tyrone 30 years ago, a report has found. The families of Colm McGirr (23) and Brian Campbell (19) on Monday 30th December said they planned to sue the British government and wanted fresh inquests into their deaths.

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The news came as US diplomat Richard Haass failed to make the party’s in the North of Ireland come to an agreement on dealing with the past, parades and flags. Among the issues holding up the progress have been mechanisms for giving evidence to Historical inquires by bodies taking over the functions of the PSNI‘s/RUC‘s Historical Enquires Team (HET) and the Police Ombudsman. The fresh report into the Co Tyrone killings was carried out by a forensic pathologist for the HET. It appears to contradict accounts given by the undercover soldiers who claimed the pair were shot dead while pointing weapons towards them. Mr McGirr and Mr Campbell, who were members of the Provisional IRA, were murdered by the SAS in a  field on Cloghog Road near Coalisland, Co Tyrone, on December 4 1983. A third man was injured but escaped. Their deaths fuelled claims of a ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy by the British government against IRA members.

Testimony from the soldiers had claimed that the men were removing weapons hidden in the field and on being challenged “Colm McGirr turned and pointed a shotgun towards one of the soldiers who then fired several shots at him”. Forensic pathologist Richard Shepherd reviewed the postmortem examination scene photographs and statements from four of the six soldiers prescent. He said he did “not believe Colm McGirr would have turned far enough to threaten soldiers” and “no shots had struck Brian Campbell from the front”. In his report, which the families have received, he concluded that because Mr McGirr was right handed, he did “not believe he would have turned far enough to threaten soldiers” if he was holding a weapon. “In my opinion therefore it is more likely that [Mr McGirr] received shots to his right side and back as he was facing into or towards the bush,” he said. The SAS also claimed one of the squad, known as Soldier A, then fired towards Brian Campbell who was holding an armalite rifle and had also turned and was facing them” However, Dr Shepherd concluded that “no shots had struck Brian Campbell form the front”. “I cannot exclude the possibility that the injury to the left upper back was inflicted as he lay on the ground,” he said, without ruling out the soldiers’ version of events in both cases. The IRA men’s families have now called for a fresh inquest into their deaths/murders. Solicitor Padraig O Muirigh, acting on behalf of the relatives said they would also take legal action against the British government.

“This report raises serious concerns in relation to the original soldiers’ statements,” he said. “In light of the disclosure of the Dr Shepherd’s report the families have made an application to the attorney general to direct a fresh inquest into the deaths/murders of Colm McGirr and Brian Campbell. “They will also be issuing civil proceedings against the minister of defence in relation to the unlawful actions of the soldiers.” Colm McGirr’s brother Brian (58), from Coalisland, claimed the British army discovered the arms cache three days earlier on December 1, but the weapons were not removed or disabeled. “We have no doubt that a carefully planned ambush was set by undercover British security forces that evening,” he said. “Through the 30 years that have passed we have sought the truth of what happened. We were led to bbelieve that the PSNI’s/RUC’s Historical Enquiries Team would make every effort to achieve the truth. “As part of this, a second pathologist has confirmed that the shootings could not have happened as described by security forces. Both men, Colm and Brian, were shot in cold blood in the back.” Mr McGirr said the families have been informed that the HSE investigation “is at an end and will proceed no further”. “We lived with a charade of an inquest in early years with no evidence of any sort offered as to what occurred. The McGirr and Campbell families will continue to demand that a new inquest is held to fully investigate all that occourred on that evening.” Reacting to the findings on Monday nnight, Dungannon Independent Republican councillor Barry Monteith said he was “not surprised” by the pathologist’s review and accused the British government of operating a ‘shot-to-kill policy in the North of Ireland. However, Dungannon DUP councillor Samuel Brush said he had no confidence in the HET. “There are dozens and dozens of murders around this area in South Tyrone that have not been looked at,” he said. “It baffles me that these things didn’t ccome to light then and can be turned up. “All we can do is work on reports as they come but is this report any better or any worse than the previous ones?”

With many thanks toto: The Irish News.

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UTV Live – McGurk’s anger

English: Plaque commemorating the victims of t...

Families of victims of the McGurk’s bar bombing say they’ve been left with no option but to take legal action to get access to a report about the atrocity.

McGurk families take HET to court

Relatives want access to atrocity report

RELATIVES of those killed in the McGurk’s Bar bombing are to issue High Court proceedings to gain access to a Historical Enquires Team (HET) report on the atrocity.

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The families were told that the HET investigation into the 1971 bombing of the family-run Belfast pub in which 15 men, women and children died had beencompleted in December last year. The HET began investigating the attack in 2006. The bombing was carried out by the UVF but the RUC brifed media outlets that it had been an IRA ‘own goal’. Despite repeated requests to both the HET and Chief Constable Matt Baggott’s office the report has still not been made available to the ffamilies. They have also lodged a complaint to the Police Ombudsman‘s office. The families claim the report’s release is being deliberately blocked from public scrutiny. Last month HM Inspectorate of Constabulary issued a damning report into the poor performance of the HET which concluded that the body had failed to properly investigate state killings.

There were calls for thecold case murder team to be scrapped in light of the report and because of a lack of public confidence. “We can confirm the families have instructed us to commence legal proceedings in the High Court in Belfast to get access to the report,” solicitor Kevin winters, who represents some of the families, said. “They do so reluctantly but have no choice.” Some of the families also plan to lodge an additional complaint today with the Policing Board. Ciaran Mac Airt, whose grandmother Kathleen Irvine died in the atrocity, said: “The state and its security forces conspired to criminalise our loved ones when they fabricated a story that the bomb was in transit and that customers were being schooled in bomb making. “To clear their good names or families have been forced to campaign against police lies and intransigence for two generations. “By blocking the release of the HET report into the death of our loved ones, the chief constable of the reformed Police Service of Northern Ireland is quite simply retraumatising our family members. “Our families have suffered enough.”

With many thanks to : Allison Morris, The Irish News.

PRESS STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE FAMILY OF SEAN DALTON

 OPPOSE MI5/RUC Collusion

Pat Finucane Centre

 

 

Our daddy, Sean Dalton, died when an IRA booby trapped bomb exploded on 31st August 1988 in Kildrum Gardens in Creggan. Sheila Lewis was also killed instantly, and Gerard Curran died of his injuries 7 months later. Sheila and Gerard were my father’s friends and neighbours.

In 2005 we approached the Pat Finucane Centre and agreed to file a complaint with the Police Ombudsman. We were convinced that the RUC knew about the bomb in advance and had allowed our daddy and his friends to die.

There have been many false dawns since then.

 

We are clear about the following points:

• The people who are responsible for the deaths of our daddy Sean, Sheila Lewis and Gerard Curran, were those who planted the bomb, the IRA. They showed a shocking disregard for our families, and the people of Creggan.

• We believe, however, that the RUC were equally culpable. This report by the Police Ombudsman substantiated our complaint in a number of areas.

 

The report confirms that

• The RUC failed in their duty to advise the local community or its leaders of possible IRA activities in the area.

• The RUC failed in their responsibility to uphold our daddy’s right to life under Article 2 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

• The RUC failed in their duty to properly investigate the death of our father and Mrs Lewis.

 

We believe that the RUC allowed this to happen because they were protecting an informant. The Police Ombudsman says he found no evidence that Police acted to protect an informant.

However, the Ombudsman was hindered in his investigation of this issue by the non co-operation of senior former officers both within the District Command and Special Branch. The report also states that documents and minutes of meetings were missing for reasons that have not been explained to this investigation.

• We intend to take legal advice as a result of the findings of this report.

It will be obvious to any reasonable person reading this report that there was an informer in the IRA in Derry providing on-going, reliable information to Special Branch- intelligence that Special Branch was passing on to the RUC District Command in Derry. We do not know whether this agent was being directed by Special Branch or the Security Service, M15.

 

It is also obvious to any reasonable person that these three deaths could have been avoided had the RUC contacted a community representative or parish priest. This action would have protected the community and also protected the security forces. The RUC did not do this. They allowed the bomb to remain in situ, in the middle of a high-density block of maisonettes, for five days – putting lives at risk.

Whilst we are focusing on our daddy’s case, our thoughts today are with the families of Sheila Lewis and Gerard Curran. We also acknowledge that that terrible day had another tragic consequence: Gerry Laird, the occupant of the flat, took his own life some years later.

We accept the findings of this report. After 25 years of lies, deception and evasion, we finally feel vindicated. However we have no sense of jubilation. These finding are long overdue. We are sad that our brother Jim, who died two years ago, did not live to see this report.

We would like to thank all the staff of the Pat Finucane Centre, past and present, for their on-going support over the last nine years. We would also like to acknowledge the recent good work of the new Police Ombudsman and his team.

 

 

British PSNI/MI5 STICH-UP RELEASE CHRISTINE CONNOR

Smash Internment

Daibhead Macgowan

After speaking with Christine recently in Hydebank Gaol there are a number of outstanding issues arising from the charges and allegations brought against her. The RUC/PSNI claim to have received intelligence on Christine in relation to her alleged involvement in an incident on the M5 where a device partially exploded; a gun find in the Short Strand, East Belfast and the attack on the RUC/PSNI in Foxes Glen. It also has to be said that the grounds for Christine’s initial arrest for the alleged attempted murder of two RUC/PSNI officers on the Crumlin Road was also intelligence based.

Further to this, during interviews in Antrim, detectives presented their surveillance evidence, including an audio recording, the transcript of which was read out to Christine and her solicitor. Police allege that in this recording the female is Christine Connor and claim that she is discussing the transportation of explosives and the planning of attacks on security personnel in Ireland and England. It has to be asked where and when it had been recorded and as to why it had been recorded. There is no visual, merely an audio and the RUC/PSNI claim to be unable to identify the others present but have bizarrely been able to determine that the female is Christine, without a voice analysis expert and further to this interpreted the conversation as a “terrorist meeting”.

Christine has been informed that the Preparation of Terrorist Acts charges is in relation to incidents on the 15th, 16th and the 28th of May 2013. On the 15th Of May, RUC/PSNI state that there was an aborted operation planned against New Barnsley police station in West Belfast. In the early hours of the 16th of May the RUC/PSNI allege to have received multiple 999 calls from residents in the Ligoneil area of North Belfast, who reported hearing two gun shots and three explosions. On the 28th of May an attack on the RUC/PSNI took place on the Crumlin road in North Belfast which pipe bombs had landed just yards from two RUC/PSNI personnel.

There is no doubting to those that know Christine that as an activist she was very determined and vocal, attributes that subsequently brought her on the radar of the British intelligence services. It has also came to light that there is an investigation under way by the Police Ombudsman as to the way in which Christine was treated in Antrim whilst in Police Custody. Christine has at all times refused to engage with her interrogators and has continued to maintain a dignified silence. She intends to beat these malicious charges .

TIME TO LET VESTIGIAL POLICING BOARD GO

The obvious solution is to abolish the policing board and had its role over to Stormont‘s 11-member justice committee, which has a rotating chair and a membership reflective of each party’s assembly strength.

AT THE end of last week’s police, political and paramilitary get-togeather in Wales everyone reaffirmed their ccommitment to the PSNI, the Police Ombudsman and the Policing Board. The inclusion of the policing board on this list stood out like a vestigial tail on an X-ray of the peace process. “Ah yes, “you might have thought to yourself. “I remember when we evolved that to stop ourselves falling over.” But what on earth is it for now?

psychop

The question is worth asking because the policing board cost £7.2 million last year, down a fair whack on the £8m figure for previous years but still a significant sum by any measure and staggering sum for the quango, the main function of which is to hold eight meetings a year. The policing board does a bit more than hold those eight eight semi-public iinterviews with senior PSNI officers. Its 19 board members also meet in private committees to discuss topics such as finance and human rights (what a joke). The policing board has has a long list of statutory responsibilities ranging from public consultation to hiring and firing the chief constable. Its ultimate function is “to secure an effective and accountable  local policing service”.

However, prior to the policing board’s creation in 2001, almost exactly the same functions were preformed by a very similar panel called the Police Authority. Chances are you do not remember the Police Authority because nobody gave two hoots about these oversight arrangements until the question arose of Sinn Fein joining it. That is why the Police Authority became the policing board and the policing board was allowed to spend £8m a year. It seems incredible to recall the angst we went through while Sinn Fein danced around the chairs it now sits in so comfortably. The principal innovation of the policing board was to replace a Police Authority that had been nominated entirely by the secetary of state plus 10 MLAs nominated by their parties according to assembly strength.

The two seats reserved for Sinn Fein from the outset became totemic of the entire ‘recognition of policing’ debate, which started with SDLP policing board members being attacked by the IRA. The politics of those two empty chairs grew to seem important, as by extension did the policing board itself. Yet once Sinn Fein recognised policing in 2007 the basis of this importance evaporated and a new logic applied. The devolution of policing and justice was inevitable, under an executive minister overseen by an all-party assembly committee. So what was the point of the policing board?46251_371159356305885_1303888108_n00 Its direct-rule origins were evolutionary dead-end. Now that we are in this situation the logic has become almost circular. The policing board falls under the remit of Alliance policing and justice minister David Ford, who has assumed the secretary of state’s former role of appointing the nine independent board members.

His last appointee was Alliance party member Brice Dickson. Even if these people are independent, why have them? The obvious solution is to abolish the policing board and hand its role over to Stormont’s 11-member justice committee, which has a rotating chair and a membership reflective of each party’s assembly strength. Like the policing board, the justice committee already conducts research, reports, consulatations and inquires. It can summon senior police officers to hearings, hold meetings open to the publc and set up sub-committees to examine specific policing issues. With a few resources there is no reason why it cannot do everthing the policing board does more efficienty and with more authority. Authority is no small matter. The policing board is the lawful body for holding the PSNI to account. It is supposed to set police priorities, policing performance targets and  annual and three-year policing strategies yet evidence that it exercises this kind of direction over senior officers is scant. A common criticism of the Police Authority was that the RUC simply ignored it and that problem may be recurring under the pressure of the past year’s public order problems. With its fancy harbour-side offices and half-appointed panel of of worthies the policing board looks like the sort of peace process quango serious people stopped talking to seriously some time ago. Replacing it with regular grillings at Stormont would go a long way to re-asserting the authority of politics and polcing. The money is no small matter either. Closing the policing board would save Mr Ford (the so-called justice minister) twice as much as all his civil legal aid reforms combined.

With many thanks to : Newton EmersonIrish News

Email : newton@irishnews.com

NORTH’S ‘FAILURE’ TO DEAL WITH THE PAST RAISED BY AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL !

AMNESTY IInternational has raised concerns over failures to deal with the past in the North of Ireland in its annual report on Human Rights.

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The organisation highlighted problems including ongoing violence and threats by republican and loyalist paramilitary groups. It also raised concerns over a “ccontinuing failure” of the British government to establish an “independent thorough and effective inquiry” into the 1989 killing of solicitor Pat Finucane. But the human rights body welcomed reforms being Carried out by the Police Ombudsman Michael Magurie, to improve hhistorical investigations into police misconduct. It also noted the executive’s establishment of an institutional child abuse inquiry. Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty International‘s Northern Ireland programme director, said it was clear the north “continues to struggle with the legacy of its recent past”. The British government, he said, had failed to put in place “adequate mechanisms to deal comprehensively with many killings over many killings over many years of violence”. “The year ahead provides new opportunities to not only reform and improve existing mechanisms – and we welcome some steps already being taken in that direction – but also to think anew about how an overall process to deal with the past can be agreed, so that Northern Ireland’s past does not also become its further,” he said. The report highlighted problems in the Republic over prison conditions for young offenders, violence against women and girls and a lack of clarity on abortion laws. Amnesty International said until abortion was allowed in cases of rape and incest, risk to a women’s health, or cases of fatal foetal abnormality, the Republic would be out of line with international humabn rights standards.

With many thanks to : Brendan HughesIrish News.

“But no mention on the Human Rights abuses by the PSNI, or the ongoing injustice’s still happening in 2013 in the North of Ireland and with the likes of the continued imprisonment of Martin Corey and Marian Price amoungst others – Seachranaidhe Irishandproud.

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MEN JAILED FOR CARROLL KILLING GET DATE FOR LEGAL CHALLENGE

‘ Last week judges were told police have tried to sabotage appeals being mounted by John Paul Wootton and Brendan McConville.

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AN unprecedented legal bid for independent oversight of PSNI/RUC inquiries surrounding the murder of Constable Stephen Carroll will take place next week.

Lawyers for the two men attempting to overturn their convictions for the killing are seeking an order for the Criminal Cases Review Commission to examine the arrest of a new witness in the case. They are also making a separate application to the Police Ombudsman to look into allegations of misconduct in the operation. Last week judges were told police have tried to sabotage appeals being mounted by John Paul Wootton and Brendan McConville. Defence counsel made thehclaim as their joint challenge to being found guilty of the murder was put back until October 7th amid uncertainty over potential fresh evidence. Constable Carroll was ambushed and shot dead as he responded to a 999 call at Lismore Manor, Craigavon in March 2009.

McConville (41) of Glenholme Avenue in the town, is serving at least a 25-year sentence for the murder. Wootton, (22) of Collindale, Lurgan, received a minimum 14-year term. It was revealed in court that an related to a key prosecution  witness was arrested two weeks ago and held for two days before being released without charge. This man has made a sworn court statement branding his relative a compulsive liar. According to defence lawyers police arrested him in a bid to pressure him into withdrawing his evidence, and warned he would be discredited if he testified. They now want the Court of Appeal to direct the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) to look into this aspect of the case. Judges yesterday listed their application for  hearing next Wednesday. It was also confirmed that transcripts from all but one of the 11 interviews carried out with this new wittness have been handed over to the defence teams. As he updated the court Ciaran Murphy QC, prosecuting, said ongoing police inquires are expected to take another four weeks. Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan pointed out : “Part of this application is about who should conduct/supervise that investigation.” Mr Murphy replied by suggesting the CCRC may have difficulties in dealing with a continuing police probe.

With many thanks to : Irish News.

ONE STATE AGENT MAY HAVE KILLED ANOTHER : LAWYER

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THE public has a right to know whether one state agent was allowed to murder another to advance within the IRA a court has heard. Lawyers for a husband and wife seeking full reasons why the Public Prosecution Service accepts that their convictions for offences linked to the interrogation and killing of a police informer should be quashed said non-disclosoure could lead to further wrongdoing.

Senior judges were told that PSNI/RUC and Police Ombudsman investigations into RUC and military behaviour in the case of James Martin and Veronica Ryan are under way. The West Belfast couple were convicted of the false imprisonment of Joe Fenton, a Special Branch agent and informer shot dead after being lured to a house in the city in February 1989. James Martin, who was also found guilty of making property available for terrorism, was later jailed for four years. His wife, formerly known as Veronica Martin, was jailed for six months.

Collusion = State Murder

Their case was referred back to the Court of Appeal by the Criminal Cases Review Commission, which examines potential miscarriages of justice. Last year it emerged that the Director of Public Prosecutions Barbra McGrory believed the guilty verdicts should be quashed. However, a public interest immunity certificate has been obtained to protect a confidential dossier containing relevant sensitive material. Lawyers for the couple are seeking a full and open judgement when judges decide whether to overturn their convictions. Sean Devine, counsel for Mr Martin, said the public deserved to know about secretive behaviour. He said a man with the initials FS – the next submissions are of my own not the lawyers just for the record – (Freddie Scappaticci) – Codename – Stake knife was at the centre of the case. – ( my own submissions closed).

” There could be landmines exploding silently around me as I make submissions because I’m in the dark about what the basis is for the proposed overturning of these convictions,” he said. If the speculation is correct and it’s the case that one agent of the state was allowed to execute another agent of the state to enhance his position with a paramilitary organisation so he could provide a higher grade of intelligence that needs to be stated.” Referring to the alleged mishandling of agents, Mr Devine said higher standards are expected from the authorities. ” If it’s the case that there was some profoundly embarssing behaviour and there may be widespread reprecussions, it’s better to lance the boil rather than to leave communities and individuals speculating about what went wrong,” he said. ” There’s been the destruction of lives and that can’t be remedied by more secretive behaviour on the part of other authorities.

“Unless the court does reveal what went wrong then those that have perpetrated this type of behaviour and those that are minded to do so in the future will continue to do so.” Richard Greene, counsel for Ms Ryan, said this could be her only chance to obtain answers about why she was jailed. Gerald Simpon QC, for the proseuction service, said that the case for delivering a closed judgement was “overwhelming”. He rejected claims that such a verdict would endorse wrongdoing. By simply quashing the convictions the court would be following the director in condemning such behaviour, he argued. He confirmed that the case has been referred to police. ” There is now an investigation into these events,” he said. Pressed by the judges on what priority it had been given, Mr Simpson said a meeting with the police ombudsman took place last week in an attempt to make progress. Lord Justice Coghlin said : “This court is charged with a public duty to deliver open justice. “There’s certainly, in my veiw, a viable arguement that by its inability to do that is a risk of harm being done not only to an individual but also to the public duty of the court itself.” Following Thursday’s submissions the three-judge panel reserved their decision on the application.

 

Dr Michael Maguire to be NI Police Ombudsman

Dr Michael Maguire
Dr Michael Maguire is Northern Ireland‘s third Police Ombudsman
 

Dr Michael Maguire has been confirmed as Northern Ireland’s new Police Ombudsman.

Al Hutchinson stepped down from the role in January after criticism of the performance of his office, which holds the police service to account.

Dr Maguire is currently the Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice in Northern Ireland.

Mr Hutchinson became the second police ombudsman for Northern Ireland when he succeeded Nuala O’Loan in 2007.

In 2011, three independent reports were highly critical of the work being carried out by the ombudsman’s office.

Last month, Justice Minister David Ford began a public consultation on reforms to the Police Ombudsman’s Office, covering proposed changes to its structure, role and powers.

Mr Ford said the consultation outlined the potential for “significant changes” to the office’s law and governance.

Dr Maguire has worked at Criminal Justice Inspection since 2008.

Before that, he was a partner in a consulting firm, and he has been involved in strategic and organisational reviews across the public sector.

He was chairman of the Institute of Directors in Northern Ireland between 2004 and 2006.

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