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Full Hearings

Hearing: 25th February 2009, day 114

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ROSEMARY NELSON

PUBLIC INQUIRY

 

 

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held at:
The Interpoint Centre
20-24 York Street
Belfast BT15 1AQ


on Wednesday, 25 February 2009
commencing at 9.30 am


Day 114

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

1 Wednesday, 25 February 2009

2 (9.30 am)

3 MR COLIN PORT (continued)

4 Questions by MR PHILLIPS (continued)

5 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, Mr Phillips?

6 MR PHILLIPS: Now, Mr Port, can we have just another look at

7 the question of dissemination, i.e. the dissemination of

8 intelligence from Special Branch to the Murder

9 Investigation Team. Can I ask you to look at

10 paragraph 26 of your first statement, RNI-817-386

11 (displayed), where you say -- and this is a point

12 obviously we touched on yesterday -- in the second

13 sentence:

14 "Special Branch decided on whether material was

15 relevant to a murder investigation."

16 You are making a very general point there, and

17 contrasting the position in Northern Ireland to the

18 position you were used to. Do you see that part of your

19 statement?

20 A. Yes, I do.

21 Q. Did that continue to be the case throughout your time on

22 the investigation, namely that Special Branch decided on

23 what was relevant?

24 A. I understood not.

25 Q. And how did that change?

 

 

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1 A. I think people -- I thought people understood where

2 I was coming from, the fact that I wanted to understand

3 what the whole intelligence picture was, and I thought

4 they understood that was my requirement. Unfortunately,

5 as I discovered since, that was not the case.

6 Q. In other words, what you have learnt during the course

7 of this Inquiry suggests to you that relevant material

8 was not disclosed?

9 A. That's true.

10 Q. Yes. Now, can I just ask you to think about what was

11 going on at the time. You clearly were asking for

12 specific reports, you were setting specific tasks for

13 Special Branch. How was it possible for you to check in

14 the murder investigation that even within that -- within

15 the tasks, within the reports that you required -- you

16 were being provided with everything that was relevant?

17 A. I think there is a quote, "you don't know what you don't

18 know".

19 Q. Exactly.

20 A. What I did was try my best, and my colleagues tried

21 their best as well, to triangulate. And I think if you

22 look at the list of CHISs, what we were trying to do

23 there was triangulate and find out whether there were

24 any intelligence sources that hadn't been divulged to us

25 that perhaps were exploitable, or indeed any

 

 

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1 intelligence that could have been exploitable. So we

2 tried our best by various different means, some of which

3 I can probably talk a bit more about in the closed

4 session.

5 Q. Yes. Do the discoveries you have made in the course of

6 the Inquiry tell you that despite the efforts you made,

7 you were not, or at least not wholly, successful?

8 A. That's unfortunately the conclusion I have come to.

9 Q. Yes. Can we just look at an example of how this played

10 out at the time and take up one of the journal notes

11 made by the then Head of E Department, B542? I hope you

12 still have got your list.

13 A. I have.

14 Q. Thank you. We can see that at RNI-549-182 (displayed)

15 and the note continuing to RNI-549-185 (displayed). So

16 if we start at the beginning at RNI-549-182 -- thank

17 you -- 17 May, and you will see 1600 hours, meetings

18 with you, and I suspect that's a reference to the

19 officer in charge of the Intelligence Cell, in fact. Is

20 that correct?

21 A. I think so, yes.

22 Q. Yes. And the passage which I wanted to ask you to look

23 at with me, please, is on the next page, RNI-549-183

24 (displayed). There, there is a record by the Head of

25 E Department of the points he was making to you in the

 

 

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1 intelligence context about these sorts of issues on

2 dissemination and security, et cetera. And do you see

3 there he says that he emphasised the absolute need for

4 that person, the Detective Chief Inspector, to have

5 advice, and referred there to the long war, the need to

6 know, source protection, et cetera?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Then he has you saying that you:

9 "... accepted and understood this, but commented

10 that he would wish ..."

11 That is you obviously:

12 "... to exploit every item of intelligence for

13 selfish reasons and thus milk the system dry."

14 It's a rather striking expression. Now, assuming

15 that you used that expression, what were you getting at

16 in making that point to the Head of E Department?

17 A. I wanted to know everything.

18 Q. What was his reaction to that?

19 A. I don't know whether my notes are available in relation

20 to this meeting, but my recollection was that at this

21 particular time he said that this wasn't London or

22 Manchester, this was a small village, and I understood

23 where he was coming from. He was concerned about the

24 long term, the points that we talked about yesterday

25 regarding methodologies and the like, and the security

 

 

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1 of people.

2 It is a very valid point particularly in that

3 individual's position. However, I made it clear what

4 I wanted and nothing that I wanted should have in any

5 way compromised that position.

6 Q. That's what I was going to ask you next: what were you

7 able to do to deal with those concerns, that your

8 approach -- to milk the system dry -- might prejudice

9 their long-term aims and, indeed, put assets at risk?

10 A. I think I mentioned yesterday about the assurance

11 I tried to give, both directly and indirectly, with this

12 individual, and partner and partner agencies, showing

13 that I had understood what had gone on and trying to

14 reference myself and reference my officers and the work

15 that they had been involved in. They, with the

16 exception of one individual, hadn't been involved in

17 national security work and I can understand anyone

18 involved in this sort of work having some reservations.

19 Q. Do you think you succeeded in winning them round?

20 A. On the basis of the stuff that I have seen since, no.

21 Q. Now, in looking at the early intelligence with you, what

22 I would like to do is to take it very briefly, not least

23 because everybody here has now looked at these documents

24 over and over again.

25 Can I just give you a sample of one of the early

 

 

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1 briefing sheets which arrived, I think, in fact, before

2 you came on the scene. It is RNI-909-006 (displayed)

3 and -- actually can we try RNI-548-168, because that's

4 almost incomprehensible (displayed).

5 Yes. It is at least easier to read. We know that

6 this was one of the early briefing sheets, 18/99, which

7 came into the investigation. In paragraph 44 of your

8 first statement, RNI-817-391 (displayed), you say that:

9 "This was the typical mode of communication to the

10 Murder Investigation Team on intelligence Special Branch

11 decided was of relevance to our enquiry."

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. What I wanted to do was to ask you some questions about

14 how that proceeded after your arrival. Did

15 Special Branch continue to give information in this

16 format, the briefing sheet?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. So without any idea of the nature of the source of

19 intelligence, human, technical, et cetera; correct?

20 A. Yes, that's right.

21 Q. And without any assessment of reliability?

22 A. Other than myself?

23 Q. Yes.

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. When the Intelligence Cell was up and running, did the

 

 

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1 Intelligence Cell receive from Special Branch similarly

2 sanitised material?

3 A. My recollection is that in some cases, yes, but in other

4 ways they went straight for the product. They were able

5 to do that for the reasons I explained: Special Branch

6 officers, anti-terrorist officers having good

7 relationships with working officers within E Department.

8 Q. As I understand it, the Intelligence Cell's function was

9 then to sanitise the material or treat the material so

10 that it could be shared so far as relevant with the

11 wider team. Is that right?

12 A. No, the Intelligence Cell worked directly for the senior

13 investigating officer. That was the senior

14 investigating officer's decision.

15 Q. Right.

16 A. That is my point. It is absolutely imperative the

17 senior investigating officer has access to all

18 intelligence so that that individual can make that

19 decision.

20 Q. But in relation to the first type of material coming

21 into the Intelligence Cell -- in other words, in the

22 form of sanitised intelligence -- the position,

23 therefore, is that effectively there were two filters;

24 is that right? The first Special Branch itself, their

25 process of sanitisation, and then into the cell, and

 

 

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1 from the cell to the SIO?

2 A. No, perhaps I haven't made myself clear. This was the

3 initial way that intelligence came through and it did

4 continue for a little while after the Intelligence Cell

5 got up and running. But the SIO had access to all of

6 the intelligence once the Intelligence Cell was up and

7 running.

8 Q. Right. That is much clearer, thank you very much.

9 Now, in relation to the early intelligence -- and,

10 again, we have been through it with your colleagues --

11 what impression were you given on your arrival by

12 Special Branch as to their level of confidence in that

13 intelligence?

14 A. They had confidence in it, that it was a reliable --

15 (redacted). There wasn't just one piece of

16 intelligence; there were numerous pieces of

17 intelligence. And, indeed, from our investigations and

18 the investigations which Special Branch have now shared

19 with us, it is clear that that intelligence was correct.

20 Q. In other words, as I understand it, your approach to

21 some at least of the material that was not disclosed to

22 you at the time but which you have now seen, is that it

23 confirmed the view that you had had based on what you

24 did see at the time?

25 A. Yes, not only that, though. Our investigations also

 

 

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1 proved -- or helped us come to that conclusion and also

2 our own enquiries and what we did.

3 Q. In terms of the actual pieces of intelligence -- and,

4 again, obviously we must be mindful of the open nature

5 of this hearing -- in terms of the actual pieces of

6 intelligence on the two suspects who were referred to,

7 albeit redacted, in that first briefing sheet we saw

8 where it was suggested they played an active role, it is

9 right, isn't it, that there was just one further piece

10 of intelligence identifying one of those at a later

11 stage?

12 A. No, that's incorrect.

13 Q. Right. Was there further intelligence coming in

14 identifying them as playing an active part in the

15 attack?

16 A. Yes, yes.

17 Q. When did it come in, as far as you can recall?

18 A. Some of it was already in and, again, during the closed

19 session, because of the protection of methodology,

20 perhaps, I can explain that. But to say that this was

21 the only piece of intelligence or only one piece of

22 intelligence, is wrong.

23 Q. I think it is right to say that M540 described the

24 nature of the intelligence case as slim, and went on, of

25 course, to say that it was built up in all sorts of

 

 

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1 other ways. But would you accept that?

2 A. No.

3 Q. So in your view, there was a robust intelligence case

4 pointing to those early suspects?

5 A. Again, what I would say is it was not slim; there was

6 intelligence (redacted).

7 Unfortunately, again, for reasons in closed session that

8 we weren't able to exploit at that particular time, but

9 subsequently the corroboration around this piece of

10 intelligence is very firm.

11 Q. Right. Well, bearing in mind our limitations here, can

12 I just ask you to look at paragraph 30 of your

13 statement, RNI 817-387 (displayed)? And you will see

14 there is a redaction in the middle of it, which is

15 a useful reminder about the limitations we are operating

16 under.

17 As I understand it, in the early weeks of your

18 involvement, you were the only DV'd officer. Is that

19 correct?

20 A. That's correct.

21 Q. And the impression one has had from the other witnesses

22 who have given evidence is that it fell to you,

23 therefore, perhaps for that reason and because of your

24 terms of reference, to take the lead in the process of

25 validation?

 

 

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1 A. In some respects, that's quite true.

2 Q. Yes, there were certain things that you could do and get

3 access to that the others couldn't?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Yes. Now, bearing in mind that we are in open session,

6 what can you tell us, please, about the steps you took

7 to investigate the provenance of this early

8 intelligence?

9 A. (Redacted)

10 (redacted)

11 (redacted)

12 (redacted)

13 (redacted)

14 (redacted).

15 Q. Right. I'm going to move away from that point. Can we

16 now have a look at a journal entry you made on

17 20 April 1999? That's at RNI-914-260 (displayed).

18 Now, this has been very heavily redacted and,

19 therefore, we are very limited about what we can discuss

20 in this session, but would it be right to say that

21 during this meeting you took steps to investigate and

22 probe, if I can put it that way, the reliability of the

23 early intelligence in relation to suspects?

24 A. Yes, that was one of the occasions I did that, yes.

25 Q. Now, in terms of what you gleaned as a result of your

 

 

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1 work, given the constraints under which you were

2 operating, were you able to share any of the results of

3 what you had done with your senior colleagues?

4 A. I was able to say that I had checked out the validity of

5 the intelligence to the extent that I could and that

6 I was satisfied at the moment that we should continue

7 looking at this and trying to exploit opportunities.

8 Q. And beyond that you weren't able to go?

9 A. I did later, yes.

10 Q. Yes. But at this stage?

11 A. No.

12 Q. No. Now, can I ask you now to focus on a rather

13 different issue, which is the question of what

14 intelligence was held by Special Branch on

15 Rosemary Nelson herself. This you deal with in

16 paragraph 39 of your statement, RNI-817-390 (displayed)

17 at the top of the page, and you say there that you were

18 told there was no file on Rosemary Nelson on a number of

19 occasions?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Now, it may be that you can't now recall the details,

22 but can you recall the individuals -- obviously bearing

23 in mind the cipher sheet -- who gave you that assurance

24 or gave you that information?

25 A. B542, B629.

 

 

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1 Q. Right. Now, so far as B542 is concerned, could I just

2 ask you to focus with me on him? Here we have another

3 journal note made by him of a meeting with you on

4 22 April, so very shortly after the meeting we just

5 looked at. That's at RNI-549-170 (displayed), and do

6 you see about halfway down the note says:

7 "He ..."

8 That's you:

9 "... asked if SB held a file on the late R Nelson.

10 I confirmed no target file but numerous cross references

11 on date ..."

12 And then there are some Xs:

13 "... and undertook to produce these for scrutiny."

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. And so far as the question and answer about the file is

16 concerned, was this a matter that you, as far as you can

17 recall, raised with the Head of Special Branch, the Head

18 of E Department, on other occasions?

19 A. Yes, and I also mentioned to Sir Ronnie as well.

20 Q. And got the same answer on every occasion?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Now, so far as this was concerned, do you think you were

23 aware at this point that there were different types of

24 Special Branch file?

25 A. No.

 

 

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1 Q. We have heard reference not just to targeted files but

2 to personal files, general files. Were you aware of

3 those types of file?

4 A. I was interested in a file. I wasn't bothered what sort

5 of file it was, I wanted a file.

6 Q. So if he records it correctly, you asked, "is there

7 a file?" He responded, "There is no target file". I'm

8 just wondering whether you went on to ask the obvious

9 question, "There may not be a target file. Is there any

10 other type of file?"

11 A. My recollection was he said there was no file, she was

12 not a target. A different interpretation than this and

13 clearly I do not have a detailed record. I have

14 a recollection, but it is that, "I have no file, she was

15 not a target".

16 Q. Right. Now, the significance of this to you presumably

17 came in the context of the collusion allegations, namely

18 it was of interest to you to know what was being

19 reported about her and how she was regarded by

20 Special Branch, for example?

21 A. That was one element, yes, but this was part of building

22 up the picture which I felt was relevant at the time on

23 Rosemary Nelson.

24 Q. Yes.

25 A. What people thought of her, it was important to me.

 

 

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1 Q. Yes. Now, so far as that is concerned, you say that you

2 raised the issue with Sir Ronnie Flanagan and B629.

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Were there any other routes that you explored to

5 establish whether in fact there was such a file on

6 Rosemary Nelson?

7 A. Yes, I asked S436 as well.

8 Q. The DCI?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. And received?

11 A. No file.

12 Q. Were you asking him was there a Security Service file?

13 A. Yes, I asked was there a file. I didn't ask was there

14 a Security Service file: was there a file. Open

15 question, as simple as that.

16 Q. Keeping this note on the screen and in mind for

17 a moment, do you see there the passage I read out:

18 "Numerous cross-references on date."

19 When I was discussing this with B542, he suggested

20 that although he gave you that answer about the file, he

21 was telling you there that there were numerous

22 references to Rosemary Nelson on the database and,

23 indeed, that he arranged for you to have access to the

24 material which Special Branch held on their database.

25 Is that something that you can recall?

 

 

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1 A. Yes, it is.

2 Q. Now, can we look together at his note of that, please,

3 which is, we see, at RNI-549-177 (displayed)? This is

4 a meeting, another meeting, on 6 May, and do you see

5 a few lines down:

6 "I briefed him on SB computer file (R/N) and made

7 arrangements for him to view on [7 May] via [the

8 Special Branch liaison officer, B567], Lurgan."

9 And he was reasonably confident that after that you

10 did indeed get access to the database?

11 A. My recollection was that I looked at this material which

12 was printed out in his office. That was my recollection

13 of it.

14 Q. Rather than, as it were, sitting at the computer

15 yourself?

16 A. Absolutely.

17 Q. What did you understand the file to contain?

18 A. These were sightings of Rosemary Nelson on surveillance

19 operations which, frankly, didn't take it any further

20 whatsoever.

21 Q. Were they sightings of Rosemary Nelson and Colin Duffy?

22 A. Yes, they were.

23 Q. Yes. Did you see in the file intelligence reports such

24 as the kind you have now seen as a result of the

25 Inquiry's work?

 

 

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1 A. No.

2 Q. Did you ask whether that was, as it were, everything

3 they had on the computer system on her?

4 A. I asked 542 for the file. He said this is what I have

5 got, I have got cross-references, I have got sightings

6 of her. That was my understanding, that's what I found

7 and there were sightings of her, and that's something

8 I shared with the family when they were asking was there

9 a file because it was a real issue for the family,

10 understandably.

11 Q. As you said yesterday, when you gave that answer to

12 them, that was based on what you understood to be the

13 position?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. Now, the importance of this, so far as we are concerned,

16 is that, of course this is a long time ago and,

17 therefore, when you have been looking at the reporting

18 that has been shown to you during your interview,

19 obviously you are casting your mind back in some cases

20 ten years nearly, to assess whether you think you have

21 seen an individual report. Quite a task for any memory?

22 A. That's a very fair comment.

23 Q. And the suggestion has been made, as you are aware,

24 well, even if they didn't see the specific reports, they

25 would have been made aware of the gist of information,

 

 

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1 perhaps in another way.

2 Now, in looking at these reports, and giving the

3 views that you do about them in your statement, is that

4 something that you have faced up to and tried to take

5 into account?

6 A. Yes, I think I mentioned that in my statement.

7 Q. Yes.

8 A. But all I'd do is, in order to corroborate that,

9 I reported to the family what I found, very soon

10 reported to Paul Nelson and then subsequently the Magee

11 family what I found. And, indeed, in general terms with

12 the NGO community as well. So I think my actions tend

13 to corroborate what I found at that particular time.

14 Q. So in summary then, you think that in the printed out

15 material from the computer system there were

16 surveillance reports?

17 A. Sightings, yes.

18 Q. Sightings?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. But no SIRs, as we call them, or no PRISM documents, no

21 individual reports about Rosemary Nelson?

22 A. That's my recollection. And if there had been anything

23 of significance, then I would have captured that, and

24 clearly I haven't. I found that file not particularly

25 helpful. There was nothing that could take the murder

 

 

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1 investigation any further for me.

2 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Was there any indication on the papers

3 you saw that there was a Special Branch file number

4 allocated to Rosemary Nelson?

5 A. None at all, sir.

6 MR PHILLIPS: Now, so far as the other information you have

7 no doubt gleaned as a result of the Inquiry's work, one

8 of the aspects of the evidence of some Special Branch

9 officers is to the effect that in their view

10 Rosemary Nelson had crossed the line, had, in their

11 view, based on the reporting that you have now seen,

12 been involved in the commission of criminal offences and

13 had become if not an actual terrorist, then a very

14 active supporter of terrorism. Were you ever made aware

15 of those views?

16 A. If I can answer that in a general way and then perhaps

17 come back to the specific. I found that Rosemary Nelson

18 was a woman who was castigated and vilified in the most

19 horrific way before her death and subsequently from her

20 death.

21 This was a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, who

22 was doing her best, who believed passionately,

23 I believe, in what she was trying to do. I found no

24 evidence, no evidence whatsoever, that she was involved

25 in paramilitary ways. She was a lawyer representing her

 

 

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1 clients.

2 Q. Now, that is very helpful expression of your view. In

3 terms of the question I asked and the issue of

4 vilification after the murder -- in other words, when

5 you became involved -- are you referring there to

6 comments made about her to you by police officers?

7 A. No, absolutely. And if anyone had mentioned anything in

8 those terms, I would have challenged them and certainly

9 held them to account. No one did.

10 Q. So in terms of the vilification then, are you referring,

11 for example, to the sort of pamphlets that we have seen?

12 A. Yes, I am.

13 Q. The "Monster Mashed" pamphlet, for example?

14 A. Yes, I am.

15 Q. That is a particularly extreme example, is it not?

16 A. It is a horrifically extreme example, yes.

17 Q. But returning to my question, am I right, therefore, in

18 taking you to say that no officer, Special Branch or

19 otherwise, expressed the view to you that

20 Rosemary Nelson was a terrorist, who crossed the line,

21 was a very active supporter of PIRA?

22 A. No, and if they had -- I'm not surprised they didn't

23 because I would have challenged them about it. I would

24 have said, "What's the evidence?" And I haven't seen

25 any evidence.

 

 

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1 Q. Now, you have been made aware of it, of the views, do

2 you think, not least given the collusion aspect of your

3 investigation, that you should have been told?

4 A. What I have seen from my recollection is a number of

5 sightings of Rosemary Nelson and Colin Duffy in

6 circumstances in a car, where they have been -- where

7 they have been seen in a car together.

8 Well, as has been described by witnesses far more

9 able than I in this particular jurisdiction, that may

10 not have been as unusual as perhaps it is in other

11 jurisdictions. So as far as I'm concerned, I have seen

12 no evidence that in any way would draw me to the

13 conclusion that she was other than a lawyer.

14 Q. But just to be clear about this, the reporting also

15 includes suggestions that she was involved in creating

16 false alibis, that she was wrongly allowing PIRA access

17 to confidential case papers, that she was working very

18 closely with PIRA figures in order to frustrate criminal

19 prosecution. Those are the allegations set out. Those

20 obviously are in a slightly different category to the

21 intelligence you have been referring to?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Is that not information that you should have been told

24 about in the context of a collusion investigation?

25 A. I think it probably is. In fairness, though, looking at

 

 

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1 it after the fact, I think you have to go back to what

2 the source is, what the provenance of that is and,

3 frankly, it is not particularly solid.

4 Q. No, but we know -- that's a view that we have heard

5 expressed from the position you are sitting in by the

6 Chief Constable of the organisation, and it obviously,

7 in that sense, merits great respect. However, we know

8 that other very senior officers based on the same

9 material were taking a very different view?

10 A. I'm aware of those views.

11 Q. In his evidence to us, B542 pointed out that on a number

12 of occasions you assured him that you had no reason to

13 suspect any collusion, RUC collusion, in the murder, and

14 he noted those assurances in his journal. I'll show you

15 just one example, RNI-549-220 (displayed). You see,

16 right at the outset of the meeting?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Now, just to be clear about that, were you, as it were,

19 giving him a snapshot of your views at the time, the end

20 of August 1999?

21 A. Yes, that's fair comment, yes.

22 Q. You weren't ruling something out at what was in fact

23 a relatively early stage of the investigation?

24 A. I think I have demonstrated on many occasions during

25 those investigation, I have never ruled anything out.

 

 

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1 I have kept an open mind. And in fact in my article, in

2 my letter to An Phoblacht, following their allegation

3 that I closed collusion off some time later, I made it

4 clear that it wasn't and said in Gaelic, "It is good to

5 talk", indicating, "Please talk to me".

6 Q. There is another example he quoted for us in March the

7 following year, which we can see at RNI-549-237

8 (displayed):

9 "Again, he assured me that there was no evidence of

10 police collusion in R Nelson murder that and no member

11 of E Department was under any suspicion."

12 Again, does that assurance fit into the same

13 category?

14 A. Yes, and I think it follows that what we did in relation

15 to the cars, what we were looking at at that particular

16 time, there was no evidence of E Department being

17 involved in it.

18 Q. And the information that you have since learned about

19 the views held of individuals, has that made you wonder

20 whether that aspect of your investigation was

21 sufficiently rigorous, albeit with hindsight?

22 A. I think with the benefit of hindsight, yes, I still

23 haven't found any evidence. I think the attitudes are

24 disappointing, but as far as I'm concerned, there is no

25 evidence that indicates that E Department or any other

 

 

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1 of the security apparatus were involved in the murder of

2 Rosemary Nelson.

3 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Could I just ask: I mean, I hasten

4 to say we haven't seen any evidence of such collusion

5 and nor have we seen any intelligence suggesting such

6 collusion, and I appreciate that what you have been

7 saying and what your colleagues have been saying is that

8 you went where the intelligence took you.

9 A. That's right, ma'am.

10 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: You didn't go off on chases. But

11 I'm just wondering, in the event that there was

12 collusion by, say, a Special Branch officer -- and I

13 repeat, there is no evidence, there is no

14 intelligence -- but would there be evidence or

15 intelligence in that situation?

16 A. I think if there was collusion, then it is highly likely

17 that someone would have talked, someone -- something

18 would have slipped out. We would have found something

19 from the enormous amount of telephone material that we

20 did. We would have found something from the sightings,

21 the plotting of officers and what they were doing over

22 the weekend. We would have found something in relation

23 to attitudes.

24 I mean, there was an individual that I remember now

25 who voiced some concerns regarding another incident, who

 

 

25

 

1 was working as a driver in our team. He was jettisoned

2 immediately. There was no allegation of collusion; he

3 was jettisoned from anywhere near us. So as far as I'm

4 concerned, ma'am, we did our best and that's all we

5 could do.

6 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Yes. I'm just wondering, you did do

7 a sort of routine sweep in the case of the Fagotto

8 officers to check that their cars hadn't been used for

9 nefarious purposes. You shied away from doing a routine

10 sweep of some of the traffic between Special Branch

11 officers and the outside world. Was that totally out of

12 the question? I appreciate it would have made you very

13 unpopular, but was it totally out of the question?

14 A. I think I mentioned yesterday, I'm not in the popularity

15 business. I'm there to do my job. And I would beg to

16 differ: the examination of those cars was far from

17 routine, it was extraordinary and that's indicated by

18 the reaction that we got.

19 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Sorry, what I meant was that you did

20 it, as it were, on a precautionary basis, not that it

21 was a normal thing to do, but you did do a complete

22 sweep of those cars?

23 A. But that was an opportunity to get evidence by finding

24 inorganic material in that particular car. That would

25 have been something very, very strange indeed. So we

 

 

26

 

1 chased down every possible opportunity that was

2 available to us. Yes, and we may not have gone as far

3 as others would have done, with the benefit of

4 hindsight, but I think, given the way the enquiry was

5 developing at the time, given what we knew, given what

6 we believed we knew, I think that we did our best.

7 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: Okay.

8 MR PHILLIPS: Can I just ask you some more questions about

9 this aspect of your work and return to the allegations

10 in relation to Rosemary Nelson and Colin Duffy. This

11 you deal with in paragraph 81 of your statement at

12 RNI-817-445. (displayed). This is your second

13 statement. Thank you.

14 You say there that during the course of this

15 Inquiry, you have been made aware of intelligence on

16 this topic and that much of it was not, as far as you

17 are concerned at any rate, passed to you by

18 Special Branch at the time. Then you say:

19 "... certainly none of the observation evidence."

20 Just picking up what you said to me just a little

21 earlier, it looks as though you did at least see some

22 observation evidence in the file you have mentioned?

23 A. Sightings.

24 Q. Is that fair?

25 A. Yes, that's right.

 

 

27

 

1 Q. Thank you. And you say you make no criticism of this:

2 "In any event ..."

3 You say:

4 "... I have been aware from an early stage of

5 rumours and gossip relating to the alleged

6 relationship."

7 Now, so far as that is concerned, how did you hear

8 about it, please?

9 A. I think Sam Kinkaid told me.

10 Q. And where you deal with the question of intelligence,

11 what you say, as I have indicated, is:

12 "I have been made aware of intelligence in the hands

13 of Special Branch relating to the alleged affair."

14 Then you say:

15 "Much of this intelligence was not passed to me."

16 So can I take it that some of it was?

17 A. Yes, as I say, some of the sightings were.

18 Q. Yes.

19 A. But some of the other stuff, no.

20 Q. Now, you go on to say that the potential impact of this,

21 of the alleged relationship, was considered. That's

22 just a few sentences down.

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. And rejected effectively, as a plausible line of

25 enquiry. Can you explain to us briefly why that was?

 

 

28

 

1 A. I think I would refer you back to the early

2 intelligence, what we found out during our

3 investigations and what we found out subsequently. This

4 was not the Provisional IRA killing a lawyer, this was

5 terrorist -- so-called Loyalist terrorists killing

6 a lawyer. She was targeted because she was a lawyer,

7 probably targeted because she was associated in

8 a professional sense with Colin Duffy or, indeed, with

9 Breandan Mac Cionnaith, and I think probably with the

10 latter is stronger than the former.

11 Q. Right. We will come back to that in a moment, if we

12 may. But presumably, you were considering various other

13 possible hypotheses which might have arisen out of this

14 alleged relationship; in other words, not simply

15 pointing in the direction of PIRA or Colin Duffy as

16 a potential culprit, for example?

17 A. We looked, and in fairness to Mr Kinkaid, he looked

18 before my arrival, at the whole range of possibilities.

19 The bottom line is we were following the evidence, we

20 were following the intelligence, and as I said earlier

21 this morning, I think we were right.

22 THE CHAIRMAN: You were provided no intelligence on

23 Republican activities in the days and weeks before the

24 murder, were you?

25 A. Other than threats to police officers in terms of

 

 

29

 

1 personal security, no, sir.

2 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

3 MR PHILLIPS: Was that because you had a rather fixed view

4 of the way the thing was going because of the early

5 intelligence and didn't regard this other information as

6 of any value to the investigation?

7 A. I think fixed is rather an unfair comment. I think what

8 we did was we followed the evidence and we followed the

9 intelligence, and I think we have been proved right.

10 And, frankly, to have wasted resources on this

11 nonsense -- I think you would have been quite rightly

12 criticising me today.

13 Q. Let's have a look at the "nonsense". We have heard

14 evidence from a very large number now of Special Branch

15 and other police officers, Army personnel, that they

16 were aware of this rumour, the gossip, and as one of

17 them put it in a recent statement, once the relationship

18 became public knowledge, then Rosemary Nelson's profile

19 moved up a gear.

20 Now, were you aware from Mr Kinkaid that this was

21 generally known about?

22 A. He said to me that it was a rumour around that she was

23 having a relationship with Colin Duffy, Colin Duffy is

24 this particular individual. There are many, many

25 rumours around. Lurgan is a small place, north Lurgan

 

 

30

 

1 is a small area and, you know, from talking to one of

2 Mrs Nelson's sisters, I'm confident that if there was

3 any grounds for this relationship, it would have been

4 mentioned at the school gate. People gossip, police

5 officers, unfortunately, gossip as well.

6 Q. Well, that I understand, but you will be aware now from

7 all of the evidence I have been talking about, that a

8 very large number of people had heard this rumour and

9 gossip?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. And it is in that context that I would like to look with

12 you, please, at paragraph 83 of your statement,

13 RNI-817-446 (displayed), because there you touch on

14 a point you have actually just made to me in a slightly

15 different way in your evidence, which is that it was, as

16 you put it:

17 "Mrs Nelson's professional relationship with

18 Mr Duffy, and I remain convinced of this, is one of the

19 reasons she was targeted."

20 Do you see that?

21 A. I do.

22 Q. Now, you have extended it in your evidence just now to

23 include Mr Mac Cionnaith and we will come back to him,

24 if we may.

25 A. Sure.

 

 

31

 

1 Q. But what I wanted to ask you is this: if it had been

2 believed that in addition to the professional

3 relationship, there was a much closer personal

4 relationship, would that not have made her even more of

5 a hate figure, even more of an obvious target?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. And so, therefore, material going to that issue was

8 relevant to you as the investigator of her murder, was

9 it not?

10 A. No, what I was concerned about -- I wasn't bothered

11 about gossip or innuendo or speculation, what I was

12 concerned about was evidence or, indeed, intelligence.

13 And, frankly, this didn't take me any closer to the

14 murderers. What I was concerned about was tracking down

15 the murderers.

16 Q. Do you accept that there is no warrant whatever for

17 limiting the relevant relationship, in terms of what you

18 were concerned with, to the professional relationship?

19 If individuals were convinced that this lawyer was very

20 closely involved with what they regarded as a prominent

21 local terrorist, that made her more vulnerable, did

22 it not?

23 A. That made her identifiable, yes.

24 Q. Yes. Now, what of the other intelligence that we have

25 been discussing together; in other words, that which

 

 

32

 

1 suggests that she was allowing individuals to look at

2 the case notes, constructing alibis, working close to

3 frustrate cases against PIRA? Presumably if that had

4 been more widely known, as it appears these rumours

5 about the affair were, that would also have added to her

6 vulnerability, would it not?

7 A. Probably, yes.

8 Q. Because you would have a combination of this prominent

9 local terrorist, in many people's view, and a lawyer

10 working closely together, and for Loyalists, for

11 example, that would have made her particularly hated,

12 wouldn't it?

13 A. I think that's a fair comment, but I think I take you

14 back to the core issue. These were not a group of

15 sophisticated intelligentsia. These were Friday night

16 and, unfortunately, Sunday night terrorists who hated

17 anybody, as they saw, on the other side, who went out

18 and killed people because they were Catholics.

19 Q. But do you see the point that if this sort of view about

20 her -- that she was unprofessionally behaving

21 criminally -- became more widely known in the way that

22 I have suggested, whether they were sophisticated or

23 not, it would make her the top of the list for the

24 Friday night or the Sunday night's activity?

25 A. Yes.

 

 

33

 

1 MR PHILLIPS: Right. Can we look together at "Monster

2 Mashed", which is at RNI-541-133 (displayed).

3 THE CHAIRMAN: Just before you do that, surely in relation

4 to your collusion enquiry, all the intelligence relating

5 to Rosemary Nelson and her associates was vital for you

6 to get to the bottom of the allegation of collusion?

7 A. I was there to investigate murder, sir, yes. And as for

8 all intelligence, I didn't get all intelligence, but

9 I would come back to the issue that I was there to

10 investigate the murder. The murder, to me, was

11 committed by so-called Loyalist terrorists. It was

12 nothing to do with the Provisional IRA.

13 THE CHAIRMAN: But what about this issue of collusion? You

14 had a special collusion cell?

15 A. I did, sir.

16 THE CHAIRMAN: But surely you had to be satisfied that there

17 was no collusion or assistance by any Government

18 organisation, any member of the security forces, whether

19 police or Army, and surely all the intelligence in

20 relation to Rosemary Nelson of whatever kind, was

21 relevant to that issue?

22 A. It was relevant and all of the intelligence that we had

23 we assessed at the time. I know that Mr Provoost, on

24 the basis of the intelligence which he has received now,

25 has looked at it again. It doesn't take us any further.

 

 

34

 

1 It doesn't prove a collusion, it doesn't prove that

2 anyone other than the people we were targeting

3 killed her.

4 THE CHAIRMAN: But it could give rise at least to the

5 possibility that there were people in the security

6 forces who hated Rosemary Nelson because of her

7 associations?

8 A. I think, unfortunately, some of the evidence that you

9 have heard, sir, indicates that.

10 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, thank you.

11 MR PHILLIPS: Can we look at "Monster Mashed" please,

12 (displayed). Thank you very much.

13 Just looking at this briefly, Mr Kinkaid gave

14 evidence about this. He explained that a copy of this

15 was seized from the house of a man who you suspected may

16 have had an involvement in the murder, and obviously,

17 again, we must be very careful in this open hearing.

18 But can I just take you to various parts of the document

19 with the various bits of intelligence reporting you have

20 now seen in mind.

21 If you look, for instance, at the top right-hand

22 column, the first paragraph -- it is not very well

23 copied -- but it says that:

24 "She quickly became a vital cog go in the

25 Mid Ulster [I think that says] PIRA death machine. She

 

 

35

 

1 became the Provo's house lawyer for the area, constantly

2 on call to visit arrested scum and seeking to undermine

3 cases by inventing complaints against RUC and UDR men.

4 In addition, her access to confidential court files

5 allowed her to identify members of the security forces,

6 IRA informers and Loyalists, for the Provo death

7 squads."

8 Presumably when you recovered this article, one of

9 the things you were concerned to do is to find out where

10 the detailed pieces of information that it contains

11 originated from?

12 A. That's a natural conclusion, yes.

13 Q. And if you have that in your mind and then recall the

14 pieces of intelligence that we have talked about

15 together -- and, if necessary, I can show you them, but

16 just to keep this as efficient as we can, there is

17 intelligence suggesting that she was assisting with

18 targeting, there is intelligence that she was giving

19 access to confidential case files, that she was creating

20 false alibis, that she was very close to PIRA.

21 Did you consider the possibility in your work that

22 you needed to find out how it was that this sort of

23 detailed information had come into the hands of these

24 individuals?

25 A. I think what I'd do now is, frankly, to look at the date

 

 

36

 

1 of this letter, look at the date of the intelligence and

2 to see whether the intelligence is being drawn from this

3 document.

4 Q. Yes. Well, let's have a look at an example. I'm not

5 sure we will be able to do this technically, but if we

6 can have on the screen RNI-542-089 (displayed) and

7 RNI-542-090 (displayed). You see, the problem with the

8 system, I am afraid, is we can't have both the documents

9 together. There you see confidential legal case notes:

10 "Rosemary Nelson permits members of Lurgan PIRA to

11 read confidential legal case note documents in the

12 secrecy of her office."

13 And there are various -- if we go back to the

14 document, please, at RNI-401-133 (displayed), the

15 various other allegations, unpleasant allegations made,

16 including a particularly unpleasant comment about the

17 alleged relationship with Colin Duffy.

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. And on the left-hand side also some very unpleasant

20 suggestions about Rosemary Nelson.

21 What I wanted to ask you is this: had you been aware

22 of the Special Branch reporting, which you have now

23 seen, do you think that it would have informed your

24 investigation of how the authors of this pamphlet came

25 to have the information which they repeated?

 

 

37

 

1 A. I would go back to my previous answer, and that is

2 I would find out what the date of this document was,

3 when it was published and what the date of the

4 Special Branch reporting was, because it is not beyond

5 the wit of man that someone has seen this and put it on

6 an intelligence report.

7 Q. All the Special Branch reporting that I'm telling you

8 about had come before the murder.

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. And this, as you can see, obviously comes after the

11 murder because it is a celebration, isn't it, of the

12 fact that she had been murdered?

13 A. Yes. But I also say there were documents, I seem to

14 recall, that had similar allegations. Is it "The Man

15 Without a Future"?

16 Q. Yes, in August 1998.

17 A. Yes, that's right.

18 Q. What it doesn't have is the sort of information I have

19 shown you at the top of the right-hand column.

20 A. You are more familiar with it than I am at this stage.

21 Q. It is something in this context, surely, in the light of

22 the collusion allegations, that you would have wanted to

23 explore?

24 A. This could indicate to us that the distribution of this

25 to Loyalist terrorists was flagging up Rosemary Nelson

 

 

38

 

1 as a potential target, yes.

2 Q. But presumably you would also have wanted to establish

3 whether there was any connection between the

4 intelligence reporting on the one hand and the

5 assertions made in this document on the other?

6 A. I would, certainly, but my -- I would stress again, we

7 had intelligence who had killed Rosemary Nelson. We

8 kept an open mind, we looked at all sorts of things, we

9 weren't privy to this, and to actually sit here ten

10 years later and say what I would have been doing --

11 THE CHAIRMAN: You are not actually answering the question

12 that is put to you. Would you put that question again

13 in relation to this document and the piece of

14 intelligence, Mr Phillips, please?

15 MR PHILLIPS: What I was seeking to ask you is this -- let's

16 do it a slightly different way. Had you known about the

17 intelligence that you have now seen -- reporting alibis,

18 confidential case notes, closeness to PIRA, et cetera --

19 presumably you would have wanted to establish whether

20 there was any connection between that and what was set

21 out in this document?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. And so, therefore, in your collusion enquiry you were to

24 some degree hampered by the fact that that reporting was

25 not disclosed to you?

 

 

39

 

1 A. That's a fair comment.

2 Q. Yes. And in looking at this pamphlet, of course, we are

3 starting from the point that you believed the person

4 where this pamphlet was found was or may have had a role

5 to play in the murder itself?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. So this was not a document, as it were, found on the

8 street or pinned up on a lamp post like the "Man Without

9 a Future" pamphlet, this was a document seized in the

10 course of the search of a house of somebody you regarded

11 as a suspect?

12 A. That's a fair comment, yes.

13 Q. So the points I have been making to you would have been

14 obviously relevant, would they not, had you known about

15 that reporting at the time?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Thank you.

18 THE CHAIRMAN: Doesn't it indicate prima facie an obvious

19 leak from Special Branch to Loyalist paramilitaries or

20 Loyalist associates of paramilitaries?

21 A. I think that could be one interpretation of it. There

22 could be other interpretations, that it was just the

23 person who had made -- made this up, who was making all

24 sorts of assumptions because she represented

25 Nationalists, represented Republicans. This is the sort

 

 

40

 

1 of thing that people representing those people did.

2 THE CHAIRMAN: You made up assumptions that almost coincided

3 with secret intelligence?

4 A. But that's the reason why I would want to know where

5 this came from.

6 THE CHAIRMAN: But if the intelligence did not come from

7 Loyalist sources, that would be a matter you would want

8 to investigate: what were the sources of those pieces of

9 intelligence, wouldn't you?

10 A. I'm sorry, I don't quite follow you.

11 THE CHAIRMAN: Well, if the source was a Republican source

12 and not a Loyalist source, that would be relevant,

13 wouldn't it?

14 A. It could be, yes.

15 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes.

16 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: I think what you are saying also is

17 what is very relevant is the date of this "Monster

18 Mashed" document, which came first?

19 A. Yes, sir.

20 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: But as I understand it, all the

21 intelligence was pre-murder. Self-evidently, the

22 leaflet is post murder.

23 A. No, not all the intelligence was --

24 DAME VALERIE STRACHAN: I think the intelligence that

25 Mr Phillips has been putting to you was pre-murder.

 

 

41

 

1 MR PHILLIPS: All of it was.

2 A. Thank you, ma'am.

3 Q. Can we move on to another topic? I just want to touch

4 on this briefly with you, and it comes in this

5 connection, and that's your relationship with the

6 family. You deal with that at various points of your

7 statement and I would like to start at paragraph 79 at

8 RNI-817-444 (displayed).

9 There you mention the question of the relationship

10 between the investigator and the family of the deceased

11 in a general way as one of the factors that can

12 sometimes create difficulties in relation to what some

13 call victimology, others, I think, victim-related

14 enquiries.

15 Now, to what extent did you feel hampered in this

16 case by the need to have a good relationship with the

17 family from pursuing enquiries of that kind?

18 A. It was not only -- I didn't feel that I didn't get

19 anything that I didn't need, but all I would say is that

20 it was not just in relation to the family; it was in

21 relation to the wider community. And, frankly, if it

22 became clear that I was poking around Rosemary Nelson's

23 finances, for instance, then I think I would have lost

24 any confidence I had within the Nationalist community.

25 The -- and, indeed, the family. And that confidence was

 

 

42

 

1 crucial to my investigation.

2 Q. So the need to, as you say, maintain that level of

3 confidence, which, as you say, was crucial, did

4 influence the decision-making in relation to this line

5 of investigation?

6 A. If I had felt there was any relevant lines which were

7 proportionate to my investigation, I would have pursued

8 them. The bottom line was that I pursued what was

9 necessary, which was relevant and what was focused, and

10 helped keep the family on side but also the wider

11 community as well.

12 Q. Now, in his evidence to the Inquiry, Mr Humphreys from

13 Kent -- I'm sure you know of Mr Humphreys -- suggested

14 that where, in some cases, there were problems of maybe

15 not exactly this kind, but where family relations were

16 difficult, there were other ways of, as it were, getting

17 the background out and pursuing investigations in

18 a different way. Was that something that you considered

19 and, if so, took up in this case?

20 A. I think we have demonstrated that, in terms of the NGOs,

21 in terms of the Anglo-Irish Secretariat, the points that

22 you were making yesterday, in relation to friends, in

23 relation to the house-to-house, in relation to the

24 collusion issues. We were looking for, all around, what

25 could have caused Rosemary Nelson's murder and who

 

 

43

 

1 killed her. So I think we went to extraordinary

2 lengths.

3 Q. And you mention those various organisations, you have

4 mentioned the family, the Nationalist community. To

5 what extent do you think would it have been politically

6 unacceptable, given the allegations of collusion, if it

7 had been become known that you were investigating this

8 side of matters; in other words, getting into the

9 background of Rosemary Nelson to a greater extent than

10 you did?

11 A. I think in fairness, people accepted that we would be

12 looking at the background of Rosemary Nelson. Certainly

13 the family did, but I was very conscious that we weren't

14 going to, as I said, poke around her finances, which

15 weren't relevant, or poke around any particular areas

16 that weren't relevant.

17 As I said yesterday, we are not in a tick box

18 situation here. We are looking at the case, we are

19 making judgments and we are following the evidence and

20 intelligence, keeping an open mind.

21 Q. Now, returning to the topic of what was provided to you

22 in terms of intelligence, we have heard from various

23 Special Branch witnesses that the instruction that went

24 out within Special Branch is that you would be given

25 full cooperation and full access, et cetera, and that

 

 

44

 

1 that, as far as they were concerned, led them to give

2 you more, to give you more cooperation and assistance

3 than had ever been the case in a previous investigation.

4 Do you, for your part, accept that that was at least the

5 way they regarded what they were doing?

6 A. Yes, and I think in my file note in relation to one of

7 the conversations with Sir Ronnie, he indicates that I

8 had asked for stuff that even John Stevens had been

9 refused.

10 Q. Is this in the context of the CHIS identities?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Of 4 January?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Yes. Now, so far as your request, the many requests

15 that you and your team made, other than the big examples

16 of difficulty that we have looked at, where, as I

17 understand it, your problem is really about the speed of

18 reaction, rather than the eventual product --

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. -- were there any specific examples you can recall of

21 you asking for X and Special Branch saying, no, you

22 can't have it?

23 A. Not that I can remember, no.

24 Q. The reason I say this is because, as you point out in

25 your own statement at 117 to 119, I think it is,

 

 

45

 

1 RNI-817-456 (displayed), clearly there is a danger in

2 focusing on what you have now discovered of distorting

3 the overall picture. And in terms of your view on the

4 overall levels of cooperation, between your team and

5 Special Branch, what was it?

6 A. I think I described yesterday in any relationship there

7 are ups and downs and there were ups and downs in this

8 relationship. As far as I'm concerned, the

9 Special Branch cooperated with me. Clearly I'm

10 disappointed that some of the stuff that we should have

11 seen, we didn't see, but that's a matter for others to

12 explain. I think in general terms the relationship, as

13 it were, with most of the RUC was pretty good.

14 Q. Now, can I just pick up what I promised I would with

15 you, which is the comment you made that you think that

16 Rosemary Nelson's relationship with

17 Breandan Mac Cionnaith had a role to play in her murder.

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Now, can I take it that what you meant there is you

20 think that relationship made her a target?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Now, again bearing in mind the constraints of this

23 hearing, what can you tell us to back up that view,

24 which of course you didn't -- that point you didn't make

25 in the paragraph we looked at together, 83?

 

 

46

 

1 A. I can tell you very little in this session.

2 Q. But the little that you can tell me is?

3 A. That I believe that one of the reasons, the pre-eminent

4 reason why she was selected and murdered is because of

5 her relationship with Breandan Mac Cionnaith.

6 Q. You mean a professional relationship?

7 A. Yes, absolutely.

8 Q. We just have to clear away some of the ground. And can

9 I ask you this: is that because of the political

10 prominence and significance of the Drumcree issue and

11 the involvement of Breandan Mac Cionnaith and his

12 association in it?

13 A. It is to a certain extent, yes.

14 Q. It is one of the things that made Rosemary Nelson high

15 profile?

16 A. Yes. To particular individuals, I would stress.

17 Q. With that in mind, can I just ask you to consider this:

18 when I was putting to Mr Kinkaid that he hadn't received

19 intelligence relating to Rosemary Nelson's role with the

20 GRRC, with the Residents Coalition, he said on that

21 topic that he didn't need any more information on that

22 because he knew all he had to about it. If what you are

23 saying now is correct, surely this was an area of your

24 investigation where you needed as much information and

25 intelligence as you could get?

 

 

47

 

1 A. It was a collusion investigation, because of the

2 restraints and restrictions that were placed upon us (redacted)

3 (redacted)

4 (redacted)

5 (redacted).

6 Q. But what of the specific point that I put to Mr Kinkaid

7 about the fact that other information, intelligence

8 information, had not been handed over? How can you say,

9 as Mr Kinkaid did, "I'm not interested in that, I knew

10 all I needed to about it" and make the point to me that

11 this relationship, you think, made her a target?

12 A. I think on the basis of the information that was shared

13 with me (redacted)

14 (redacted)

15 (redacted)

16 (redacted)

17 (redacted)

18 (redacted)

19 (redacted).

20 Q. But just looking at the thing more generally, you

21 appreciate that one of the concerns expressed is whether

22 the investigators, you and your senior colleagues, kept

23 an open mind?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. And I imagine you would accept that that, as a general

 

 

48

 

1 principle, is what an investigator ought to do?

2 A. That's right.

3 Q. So there is a danger, isn't there, in this or any other

4 case of saying about information, well, I didn't need to

5 know any more about that because I knew all that was

6 relevant?

7 A. But Mr Kinkaid is a RUC officer.

8 Q. Yes.

9 A. An experienced RUC officer, who has been around

10 Drumcree. His deputy, M540, has been around Drumcree

11 for a long, long time. They knew a lot more than I know

12 even ten years later.

13 Q. So you don't think that the investigation was in any way

14 undermined or hampered by that sort of attitude; in

15 other words, yes, I'm a local officer, I know all there

16 is to know about this, I don't want to know any more

17 about it?

18 A. Mr Kinkaid is a very bright, articulate individual who,

19 as far as I'm concerned, kept an open mind throughout

20 the whole of this investigation, as we all did. We went

21 where the evidence led us.

22 Q. Did you ask Special Branch to provide you with what

23 intelligence they had on Rosemary Nelson's relationship

24 with the GRRC?

25 A. No, I asked for the file on Rosemary Nelson.

 

 

49

 

1 Q. Yes. You didn't make a specific request in relation to

2 the GRRC?

3 A. No.

4 THE CHAIRMAN: When you said that in your opinion now, the

5 pre-eminent reason for the selection of Rosemary Nelson

6 as a murder victim was because of her professional

7 relationship with Breandan Mac Cionnaith, that is not

8 based, is it, on any intelligence that you were not

9 shown when you were OIOC?

10 A. That was based upon intelligence that I saw, yes.

11 THE CHAIRMAN: At that time?

12 A. That's right.

13 THE CHAIRMAN: Not some intelligence you have later seen?

14 A. No, sir.

15 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

16 MR PHILLIPS: Sir, would that be a convenient moment?

17 THE CHAIRMAN: Certainly, we will break off until midday.

18 MR PHILLIPS: 11 o'clock.

19 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, you are quite right.

20 MR PHILLIPS: It may feel like that.

21 THE CHAIRMAN: 11 o'clock.

22 (10.45 am)

23 (Short break)

24 (11.02 am)

25 THE CHAIRMAN: Mr Port, during the break the Panel have been

 

 

50

 

1 considering the answers you gave in relation to "Monster

2 Mashed" and maybe you have also been reflecting on those

3 answers. Now you know the nature of the secret

4 intelligence on Rosemary Nelson, in particular her

5 alleged activities in support of PIRA, in view of

6 "Monster Mashed", surely Special Branch should have

7 brought that intelligence to your attention?

8 A. Upon reflection, yes, sir.

9 THE CHAIRMAN: And if they had, that would have given rise

10 at least to an investigation as to a possible leak by

11 Special Branch to Loyalist paramilitaries of secret

12 intelligence?

13 A. That's right, sir.

14 THE CHAIRMAN: And that investigation might -- and

15 I emphasise the word "might" -- might have indicated

16 evidence of collusion by a member or some members of

17 Special Branch?

18 A. Yes, sir.

19 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

20 MR PHILLIPS: Can I follow that up by asking you, after the

21 seizure of the pamphlet did you seek any relevant

22 intelligence from Special Branch?

23 A. I personally didn't. I don't know if anyone else did.

24 Q. Because if this was an area in which you were interested

25 to see whether there was any connection, obviously the

 

 

51

 

1 way to find out would be the ask the question?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. Presumably the other point, which if you are not going

4 to make it, I'm going to suggest to you, is of course

5 back to the comment you made earlier this morning, that

6 if you don't know it is there, you can't ask about it?

7 A. That's right, but I have every confidence that

8 Mr Kinkaid would have made enquiries as far as humanly

9 possible in relation to that document.

10 Q. Can I just pick up a point that you made just before the

11 break in relation to your suggestion that

12 Rosemary Nelson is likely to have been targeted because

13 of her professional relationship with

14 Breandan Mac Cionnaith.

15 A. That is one of the reasons, yes.

16 Q. Yes. Again, mindful of the constraints of this hearing,

17 as I understood it, you said in answer, I think, to one

18 of the Chairman's questions that you had intelligence on

19 this which you saw at the time to support that

20 suggestion. Is that right?

21 A. It wasn't -- I can't remember exactly when I saw that

22 intelligence but it wasn't the intelligence which the

23 Special Branch had just -- which has been discovered by

24 the Inquiry.

25 Q. Right. But was it intelligence emanating from

 

 

52

 

1 Special Branch?

2 A. No.

3 Q. No. But from another body or individual?

4 A. That's correct.

5 Q. And is it possible -- I am afraid I'm going to have to

6 rely on you for a judgment on this -- in the confines of

7 the open hearing the indicate the identity of the body

8 or individual?

9 A. No.

10 Q. Thank you. Can I turn to a completely different topic,

11 and that's Operation Shubr, the surveillance operation

12 on the key suspect or some of the key suspects which, as

13 the Inquiry has discovered, was going on at the time of

14 Rosemary Nelson's murder. You touch on this in your

15 first statement at paragraphs 63 to 66 and that's at

16 RNI-817-403 and following (displayed).

17 There you say that on the day before a big meeting,

18 which we have heard a good deal of evidence about, with

19 very senior officers, on 8 April, you determined that

20 you were going to seek access to:

21 "... the logs relating to surveillance operations on

22 the key suspects."

23 And we see from the note of the meeting itself,

24 which you then refer to, that that request in due course

25 was made during the meeting.

 

 

53

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. And it refers in terms, doesn't it, to logs? It

3 actually uses that word?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. Now, does that not suggest that you were aware, as at

6 this early stage, that there had been surveillance in

7 progress at the time and what you wanted was to see what

8 had been observed?

9 A. Yes, what I understood was that the LVF were involved in

10 drugs, there had been surveillance on them. I wanted to

11 know again -- I wanted to know as much as I possibly

12 could about this organisation, which was new to me, and

13 what they were up to.

14 Q. Yes, but what I want to find out is the extent to which

15 there is really a disagreement here between you and

16 Special Branch. You knew there was surveillance on the

17 key suspects. Can I take it from what we see here that

18 if you didn't know it was on the exact time of the

19 murder, you knew it was round or about the time of the

20 murder?

21 A. I knew it was before, yes.

22 Q. So really does it come down to the fact that you didn't

23 know the name, i.e. Operation Shubr?

24 A. I didn't know the name and I had no idea that there was

25 intelligence ongoing or intelligence operations ongoing

 

 

54

 

1 at this particular time. I knew that one individual had

2 been arrested (redacted) and my understanding was the

3 surveillance was to do with that.

4 Q. Right. Now, there has been some focus on a question

5 which was posed at, again, I think a very early stage of

6 the investigation, I think perhaps by Mr Kinkaid, which

7 we see at RNI-914-349 (displayed). I am afraid it is --

8 it is extremely difficult to make sense of it, but you

9 see under "Requests", there is a request as to whether

10 surveillance can be done on the key suspects?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. And a rather opaque answer comes back at RNI-914-352

13 (displayed), the top of the page:

14 "Surveillance is ongoing in accordance with future

15 requirements."

16 Now, so far as that answer is concerned, that didn't

17 in your view, as I understand it, give you the

18 information that you needed?

19 A. The surveillance can mean a whole variety of things:

20 technical, human, physical, whatever.

21 Q. Now, in the evidence, as it were, on the other side, on

22 the Special Branch side of this, there have been various

23 suggestions made, including that you may well -- either

24 you personally or one of your officers -- have had the

25 logs made available to you, you just may have missed the

 

 

55

 

1 significance, matters that -- you may have been told

2 about it in a briefing or other meeting. What is your

3 answer to those possibilities?

4 A. I personally saw no surveillance logs. I found that

5 strange, and the reason I was given about the lack of

6 surveillance logs is that these were intelligence

7 operations, and after the intelligence operation had

8 concluded, if there was no significance, they were

9 destroyed.

10 Q. So it is not just that you weren't told about this

11 particular operation, as I understand it, what you are

12 saying is that you asked a question and were given in

13 effect an answer which brought that line of questioning

14 to an end?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. A hand-off?

17 A. In my terms, yes.

18 Q. Yes. Let's look at the consequences of that in

19 paragraph 65 of your statement at RNI-817-404

20 (displayed). There you say you can't think of a reason

21 why you didn't receive them, and you characterise this

22 as being an example of what happens when the test of

23 relevance is being applied by Special Branch rather than

24 by the investigation itself.

25 Can I ask you what, if any, adverse impact did this

 

 

56

 

1 non-disclosure have on your investigation?

2 A. In relation to the surveillance? It would have been

3 interesting to know what they were up to, who they were

4 seeing, where they were going, not only for the

5 investigation but for future activity in terms of

6 lifestyle.

7 Q. But did it, looking back on it, deprive you of anything

8 significant in terms of opportunities?

9 A. Again, without going through every single piece of

10 intelligence, I'm disappointed that that wasn't shared

11 with me because I think I would have hoped to exploit

12 the information within those surveillance logs. I know

13 that's a woolly answer because I can't remember the

14 detail of what was released.

15 Q. No. Putting aside whether it is woolly or not, I

16 understand the way you are putting the expression of

17 disappointment, but coming to the crunch, as it were,

18 did it actually make any differences?

19 A. I think -- again, without looking at the detail of the

20 logs and reminding myself of that detail, it is very

21 difficult for me to say yes or no.

22 Q. Now, so far as the next point which led to difficulty is

23 concerned, can I ask you to focus on the request you

24 made through Mr Provoost for CHIS identities? The first

25 thing I want to, as it were, get out of the way early on

 

 

57

 

1 is you had asked at a very early stage and been given in

2 a very limited number of cases some CHIS identities, had

3 you not?

4 A. That's right.

5 Q. And as far as one can tell from the material and the

6 evidence the Inquiry has heard, that didn't create any

7 great difficulty or problem. You sought the information

8 and, in due course, it was provided?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. So, again, to use very simple terms, as it were, no

11 complaint there?

12 A. No.

13 Q. Thank you. Now, moving on to 2000 and August, where

14 obviously the position was very, very different, can we

15 look, please, at RNI-622-001 (displayed). This was one

16 of two such requests, the other to C Department; this is

17 to the Regional Head from your number 2, from

18 Mr Provoost, and it asks for those identities in

19 relation to named organisations, Loyalist Volunteer

20 Force, Red Hand Defenders, Orange Volunteers or similar

21 affiliated groups going back to 1996, including

22 individuals who were no longer active. Then in the

23 second paragraph, dealing with the terms that would

24 apply to holding this plainly extremely sensitive

25 information, and at the end saying that the details

 

 

58

 

1 should be made available to you or Mr Provoost no later

2 than 12 noon on Friday, 18 August.

3 So even being charitable about the timings here, it

4 is dated 16 August, you were asking for this information

5 in no more than two days?

6 A. Yes, we'd been asking for it on an informal basis

7 before, and what we did here -- my recollection is that

8 we were formalising it.

9 Q. That's an important point and I would like to explore it

10 with you. So you are saying, are you, that this did not

11 come out of the blue?

12 A. No, we had been talking about it.

13 Q. There is nothing in writing that one can see of this

14 kind before 16 August. Is that a fair comment?

15 A. That's right.

16 Q. Now, does it, therefore, show rather a strong sense of

17 frustration on your part that the informal discussions

18 and questions you'd been asking had not produced

19 anything?

20 A. I think that's fair.

21 Q. Because the tone is crisp, is it not, and the deadline

22 exceptionally short?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Not least given the sensitivity of the information and

25 the considerable range of the search request: a number

 

 

59

 

1 of organisations, their affiliated grated groups going

2 back three years?

3 A. This is a fairly simple request that is available, or

4 was available on a database.

5 Q. But presumably you were aware that it was going to be

6 met with a very strong and adverse reaction?

7 A. We knew that there would be resistance. I would not

8 have thought adverse was an inevitable consequence.

9 Q. And the reason I make that suggestion is that it

10 looks -- and you may not agree with this -- as though

11 the tone of the document and the shortness of the

12 deadline are a fair indication that you were

13 anticipating trouble?

14 A. No, I have acknowledged that we were frustrated and

15 I think that the tone of this note indicates our

16 frustration and said, "Let's stop messing around. Let's

17 get on with it, please. We have got to move on from

18 this."

19 Q. Looking at the aspect of the similar affiliated groups,

20 a reasonably general expression. Are you saying that

21 that had been fleshed out in any sense in your prior

22 discussions?

23 A. No, not at all.

24 Q. So that was for them to determine, was it, which were

25 the relevant affiliated groups?

 

 

60

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. You told us about the informal discussions. Did you

3 give any warning to the relevant individuals or

4 organisations that a much more formal request was

5 coming?

6 A. I can't recall. I would be surprised if I didn't.

7 Q. Can you put any detail on that?

8 A. I can't.

9 Q. No. Now, in terms of the quantity of information you

10 were seeking, were you aware that you were breaking into

11 new ground, new territory?

12 A. The quantity or the nature?

13 Q. Well, we have discussed the nature already because you

14 indicated at an earlier stage on a very limited basis

15 you had asked and been given identities. This, in terms

16 of the quantity of information, the range of the search,

17 is much, much wider, is it not?

18 A. Yes, I had no idea of the number of individuals this

19 would identify.

20 Q. Now, so far as the question of the discussions you have

21 told us took place is concerned, can I ask you to look

22 at paragraph 76 of your first statement at RNI-817-407

23 (displayed). There, in dealing with the request, you

24 say it was something you thought about long and hard.

25 You didn't want to have the identities of CHIS, but felt

 

 

61

 

1 it was an essential step:

2 "Had it been in a different time period, we would

3 undoubtedly have had more verbal communications on this

4 issue rather than putting the requests in writing."

5 So that suggests that the communications before the

6 event were rather limited; is that right?

7 A. What I'm saying is that it would have been better to

8 have had more verbal communication, but time was

9 pressing on, we wanted to move on.

10 Q. What was it about the time period, as you put it, that

11 dictated the way you did it in this case?

12 A. I can't recollect, to be honest.

13 Q. But are you saying there, had it been a different time

14 period, i.e. a different era of policing, or do you mean

15 a different phase of the investigation?

16 A. I can't recall.

17 Q. It is just an expression in your own statement. That's

18 why I'm asking.

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. You can't help? Right. Why, in your view, was it an

21 essential step?

22 A. I think because we had identified there were (redacted)

23 (redacted) individuals (redacted)

24 that hadn't been identified to us and we wanted to know

25 why, (redacted), why they hadn't

 

 

62

 

1 been identified to us, for two reasons: one, in terms of

2 collusion; but secondly, in terms of exploitation of

3 their individual opportunities.

4 Q. Now, looking, as it were, to the end of all of this, in

5 paragraph 78 of your statement, the next page,

6 RNI-817-408 (displayed), you say towards the end of the

7 paragraph, four lines up:

8 "As I have said, I eventually got what I wanted."

9 And we will see that in a minute.

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. "As far as I recall, there was nothing in there ..."

12 That's the information you were given:

13 "... that caused me any alarm. I believe that

14 Special Branch's reluctance to hand over the list was a

15 cultural issue which I can partially understand."

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Which aspects of their reluctance do you understand?

18 A. I have said on a number of occasions that these were

19 people who were guarding people's lives, who took very

20 seriously their responsibilities, both to the country

21 but also to the individuals who they were working with.

22 People had been killed for being exposed as CHISs and I

23 can understand their reluctance, sharing it with people

24 who, in fairness -- and that's iterated throughout the

25 whole of my documents, I think -- they still had some

 

 

63

 

1 reservations about.

2 Q. Even at this point in August 2000?

3 A. They didn't want to share things, I can understand that.

4 Q. One of the points that witnesses so far from the

5 Special Branch side have made, and in particular B542,

6 is that what was missing here from you was

7 a justification on a case-by-case basis: relevance,

8 necessity and, indeed, in relation to the

9 proportionality of your request?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Now, you accept, I think, that you didn't put forward

12 a case on that basis. Is that right?

13 A. I would accept that I had paragraph 7 of my terms of

14 reference. They were quite explicit: that I should have

15 access to whatever intelligence. I made my case clear

16 to 542, to the Chief Constable, who checked it out with

17 a number of individuals and subsequently got it.

18 Q. Yes.

19 A. I think my request, based upon what I was trying to do

20 to investigate the murder and look at collusion, was

21 proportionate, was necessary and certainly relevant.

22 Q. So just to disentangle when you have been saying, they

23 are saying you need to tell us why it is relevant,

24 necessary and proportionate. As I understand it, your

25 answer is two things: one, look at my terms of

 

 

64

 

1 reference, paragraph 7; but, as it were, also two, that

2 you did explain why you needed the information to, you

3 say, B542 --

4 A. I did.

5 Q. -- and the Chief Constable?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. There was at one stage, much later, a suggestion that

8 you should be required to put a case in writing so that,

9 as it were, the paperwork could be in order, the boxes

10 could be ticked. Why did you not do that?

11 A. I think time has shown -- I made this application on

12 16 August.

13 Q. Yes.

14 A. I got the information on 27 January, I think, 2001.

15 Q. Yes.

16 A. I wanted that information now. A point made by the

17 Chairman yesterday: it took four months. It took four

18 months. It shouldn't have taken that long. I didn't

19 see the point. They knew exactly what the situation

20 was, I explained my rationale, they knew what the

21 situation was. There was little point in putting it in

22 writing.

23 Q. But did you not appreciate that in their understandable

24 and sensible -- from their point of view, sensible

25 caution, they wanted to take advice, legal and other

 

 

65

 

1 advice, to ensure that what was for them unprecedented

2 wasn't going to have adverse impacts of all sorts on the

3 force, or on its intelligence capacity and the

4 individual sources.

5 A. I absolutely 100 per cent understood that. I explained

6 my rationale to them. They went away. They didn't come

7 back and seek any clarification that I recall. I made

8 my situation clear. The next few months were actually

9 spent, where is it, where is it. There was no question,

10 "Well, you can't have it" or whatever. It was asking

11 that question: where is it?

12 Q. You asking the question?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Yes. We will look at some of the material in a minute,

15 but so far as what was going on is concerned, did this

16 unresolved issue have an impact on relations between the

17 team and Special Branch during those months?

18 A. I think I have described the relationship at that time

19 to be frosty.

20 Q. Yes. Now, can I just pick up a couple of points with

21 you arising out of some questions I put to you yesterday

22 in relation to the leak at the end of the year, and the

23 first is -- because I suggested to you that one

24 motivation might have been that the MIT leaked the

25 material in order to put pressure on the

 

 

66

 

1 Chief Constable.

2 Now, in fairness, I would like to show you a couple

3 of documents. The first at RNI-624-003 (displayed) and

4 that's your letter to the Chief Constable of 2 January

5 referring back to a much longer letter of 25 October,

6 which we haven't looked at, in which you say in this

7 letter you had outlined the rationale?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. And then you say:

10 "Since that time, you ..."

11 That's Sir Ronnie:

12 "... have indicated that you agree that I could now

13 have access to the material that I requested in August."

14 So now we have all seen that, it looks, doesn't it,

15 as though by the very beginning of 2001, the

16 Chief Constable had given you that assurance?

17 A. Given me the assurance, I think, on 11 December.

18 Q. Thank you.

19 A. Prior to the leak.

20 Q. Yes. In other words, that, as I understand it, the

21 point you wished to make is there was, as it were, no

22 motivation for you to leak because by this stage, you

23 think mid December, you had been told that you were

24 going to get the information you had requested?

25 A. No motivation and certainly not any action.

 

 

67

 

1 Q. Thank you. And then, as I understand it, what you are

2 doing in the second paragraph is to draw to his

3 attention first of all to one of the articles, but

4 secondly, to give him your view on the matter, which is

5 that you regarded it as very serious matter and one

6 which in your opinion was set to undermine the

7 investigation and security within the RUC?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. So that is in fact a point which I think didn't perhaps

10 come out strongly yesterday: you regarded, at the time,

11 the leak as damaging to you, to your work?

12 A. Yes, in terms of community confidence, yes.

13 Q. Yes. Now, two days later we see you had a meeting with

14 the Chief Constable on 4 January.

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. That's at RNI-548-554 (displayed).

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. And this is a very vivid note, if I may say so. You saw

19 him at 5 o'clock in the evening and you say what you

20 discussed at the beginning there, 1 to 5. And then

21 Sir Ronnie initiated discussion on two points and the

22 first was to do with telephones, and the second was

23 about this issue of information concerning CHISs.

24 And you record there in relation to that second

25 point:

 

 

68

 

1 "I said that he ..."

2 Ronnie Flanagan:

3 "... had told me on 11 December that I could have

4 that information."

5 Hence the comment that you have just made, I think?

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. "He then said I could, but he wanted to see ..."

8 I think that individual's name has been redacted.

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. You record yourself as saying:

11 "When can I see the documents?"

12 Then there is what I suspect was rather a fast

13 exchange between the two of you with him saying, "Yes,

14 you can" and you saying, "When?" And him saying, "Yes,

15 you can" and pressing him and pressing him for

16 a specific date. And that led to the meeting on his

17 side becoming a little more heated; is that fair?

18 A. Yes, it is not an interaction that I'm particularly

19 proud of.

20 Q. You were pressing him?

21 A. I was.

22 Q. And he didn't like it?

23 A. No.

24 Q. Then you quote him as saying that he had been:

25 "... told by security people, not E Department but

 

 

69

 

1 others, that they would not have agreed to my request."

2 And he then says:

3 "He said JS had been refused a similar request."

4 That is Mr -- now Lord Stevens:

5 "I didn't comment. The conversation then went on

6 into other issues and I accepted my request had affected

7 relationships but it was essential."

8 So the frostiness that you mentioned earlier you

9 accepted had been provoked by your request?

10 A. Yes, it had been a contributory factor.

11 Q. And he then named the various Special Branch officers

12 who were all concerned, and you said:

13 "I said it is not just them, they all know, the

14 whole of Mahon Road and others."

15 Now, that presumably was your understanding that

16 this issue was causing much more widespread frostiness,

17 cooling of relationships?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. With Special Branch?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. In other words that the issue had not in fact been kept

22 within the narrow circle of the senior officers?

23 A. But don't forget this is after the publication of the

24 article on 31 December.

25 Q. Indeed.

 

 

70

 

1 A. And I can't specifically recall whether it was relating

2 to that period between the meeting or whenever, but I do

3 know it was the talk of Mahon Road, yes.

4 Q. So it may well be that the media publication of this

5 added to the already frosty state of relations?

6 A. It was very, very unhelpful.

7 Q. And then:

8 "R ..."

9 Sir Ronnie:

10 "... said it was nothing personal against me but it

11 was personal by SB against SK ..."

12 That's Mr Kinkaid?

13 A. That's right.

14 Q. "... and I said it was very sad."

15 I think by this stage Mr Kinkaid had in fact left

16 the investigation. He left, I think, at the end

17 of August or beginning of September 2000?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. But was this something you were aware of, that the

20 personality clash involving Mr Kinkaid was still having

21 an impact?

22 A. It was something that came out when 118 did his help for

23 me and then came out again. And I think it is a real

24 sadness. We are professionals that are continually

25 harping back to personalities.

 

 

71

 

1 Q. Now, the other issue I want to ask you about, which

2 burst into flames at about the same time, was one you

3 deal with in paragraph 67 to 73 of this first statement,

4 and that's at RNI-814-404 and following (displayed).

5 Treading reasonably carefully here, this concerned

6 telephone records, didn't it?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. And the original request, which you refer to in

9 paragraph 68, which we have on the screen, was initiated

10 by Mr Kinkaid in the very last phase of his time on the

11 investigation on 22 August. Do you see that?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Now, this generated a good deal of heat and tension over

14 the next months, didn't it?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Now, just again coming to the end of the matter before

17 we look at just a little bit of the detail, as I

18 understand it by the time the exchange of letters was

19 initiated in September and October 2000 and the Head of

20 E Department became involved, in fact Mr Kinkaid's

21 request had been withdrawn?

22 A. That's right.

23 Q. So that all of the correspondence and heat was in

24 relation to a request which had in fact been abandoned

25 in a sense?

 

 

72

 

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Now, would it be fair to characterise your view of this

3 as being that it was essentially a storm in a tea cup?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. It was, as you put it, a little local difficulty which

6 was blown out of all proportion?

7 A. That's right.

8 Q. Now, let's have a look at your first contribution and

9 that's at RNI-914-272 (displayed). It is the letter of

10 18 September. Again, part of it has been redacted. But

11 this in turn was addressing a letter sent by one of the

12 liaison officers, B503, to Mr Kinkaid, which in turn was

13 a response to Mr Kinkaid's original request?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. Is that right?

16 A. Yes, that's right.

17 Q. You say you found the tenor of the letter disappointing

18 and its contents naive:

19 "The letter could be used by others to demonstrate

20 that the RUC and particularly E Department are

21 attempting to obstruct this investigation. You and

22 I both know this is not the case."

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Now, obviously one appreciates the sentiments in the

25 final sentence of that paragraph, but the comment you

 

 

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1 made earlier was somewhat inflammatory, was it not?

2 A. Which one?

3 Q. The one about the letter could be used by others to

4 demonstrate ...?

5 A. No, setting the scene as I saw it. I don't regard that

6 as inflammatory at all.

7 Q. What about the comment you make at the end, saying you

8 don't intend to respond to the letter which seems to be

9 a manifestation of paranoia? Was that not somewhat

10 inflammatory?

11 A. And I explained yesterday that I regret that I wrote to

12 that individual because he interpreted it as a personal

13 attack upon him. It was never that. It was the

14 paranoia that I was trying to describe within the

15 Special Branch about my team, that they felt they were

16 under investigation.

17 Q. Yes. So you were taken aback or surprised by the very

18 personal way in which he interpreted that comment?

19 A. I was disappointed.

20 Q. Yes. As I understand it, what you tell us in your

21 statement in paragraph 71, RNI-817-406 (displayed), is

22 that you didn't see the Superintendent, 503, very much

23 after this?

24 A. Not that I recall, no.

25 Q. So although you regarded it as a storm in a tea cup, in

 

 

74

 

1 fact the effect of this episode was that one of your

2 Special Branch points of contact, liaison officers,

3 effectively withdrew?

4 A. No, my recollection is he was actually seconded to do

5 other duties.

6 Q. But didn't that in some way affect or even undermine the

7 effectiveness of the investigation?

8 A. No, not at all. When this individual went away to do

9 his piece of work, Arthur Provoost continued to speak to

10 him and certainly we had our other relationships as

11 well.

12 I mean, the genuine conduit between that individual

13 and the Murder Investigation Team was Mr Provoost, it

14 wasn't me.

15 Q. Right. You don't in any sense regret that impact of

16 this particular episode?

17 A. I think it was unfortunate that we had to reach that

18 stage, but the bottom line is we wanted to move ahead,

19 we felt as though we couldn't move ahead and sometimes

20 you have to deal with issues head on, and I think we

21 did.

22 Q. Can I ask you now to look with me at your handwritten

23 letter to him because I don't think we have seen this so

24 far. It is at RNI-548-313 (displayed), dated

25 17 October. I'm not going to make any comment about

 

 

75

 

1 your handwriting.

2 A. Thank you very much.

3 Q. But what I would like to do with you, please, is to just

4 take you through it very briefly.

5 You set out the underlying circumstances. By this

6 stage, the Head of E Department was involved, as we can

7 see. Turning over to RNI-548-314 (displayed), you

8 explain at the top of the page why it was that you are

9 taking the step of writing to him personally, and

10 clearly one of your aims was to dispel, as you put it

11 a few lines down there, some of his concerns. And you

12 then go on to make the point:

13 "Given the relationship between E Department and the

14 senior management team of the Rosemary Nelson

15 investigation, I would have hoped and expected that we

16 could have first discussed the issues you raised."

17 Can I ask you on that, to what extent do you think

18 the reaction here on the part of Special Branch was

19 influenced by the parallel issue of your request for

20 CHIS identities?

21 A. I think that's a question you are going to have to ask

22 the next witness, not me.

23 Q. Did it occur to you at the time that those issues might

24 be closely related?

25 A. Yes, it did.

 

 

76

 

1 Q. And then you say:

2 "I, in turn, could have explained my position."

3 And presumably that was one of the things you were

4 seeking to do in this letter?

5 A. That's right.

6 Q. And then you go on to set out why you made the comments

7 that you did and say at the bottom of the page that:

8 "It could be easily construed by others as a direct

9 challenge to the integrity and independence of the

10 investigation. That this challenge emanates from

11 E Department would not be missed in certain quarters."

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Presumably that takes us back to the comment you made in

14 your letter of 18 September?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. And you say:

17 "However, I'm happy to go on record on this matter.

18 I do not regard the memo as being an accurate reflection

19 of --

20 A. Astuteness.

21 Q. Thank you. And then you go on to make a few remarks

22 about him:

23 "I have always found you to be knowledgeable,

24 balanced in your commentary and politically aware."

25 A. Yes.

 

 

77

 

1 Q. "This is a view I have shared with your Chief Constable

2 on a number of occasions."

3 A. That's right.

4 Q. Thank you. And then you say:

5 "I hope on reflection you will feel as I do that

6 your personal and professional reputation was never in

7 question. Finally, I'm disturbed that the suggestion of

8 paranoia --

9 A. "... has been personalised to you, it was never intended

10 in that way. I used the phrase 'manifestation of

11 paranoia' to reflect what I sensed to be a mistaken but

12 seemingly prevalent feeling ..."

13 Q. Over the page:

14 "... in certain quarters that E Department are

15 subject to a wider investigation by the team. I have

16 shared this concern with the Head of E Department."

17 A. That's right.

18 Q. So you believed at this moment, did you, that there was

19 this feeling in certain quarters that E Department

20 itself, or some individuals there, were under

21 investigation?

22 A. There is no doubt at all about that.

23 Q. And, as it were, where were the quarters?

24 A. 629.

25 Q. 629? That was your perception of it at the time,

 

 

78

 

1 was it?

2 A. Well, he thought that I had him subject to intrusive

3 surveillance.

4 Q. Right. He said that to you, did he?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Was there any truth in that?

7 A. No.

8 Q. Did he explain why he came to that view?

9 A. It was because of my general coldness towards him,

10 I think.

11 Q. So that was the individual you had in mind when you made

12 that comment about certain quarters?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. Now, so far as the long history of the issue on CHIS

15 identities is concerned, you have told us already that

16 eventually you got the information you were seeking

17 towards the end of January next year. Can I ask you

18 this question without going into any detail, but were

19 you aware at the time that Special Branch were seeking

20 advice and assistance from the Security Service?

21 A. No, I wasn't.

22 Q. Were you surprised to hear in the course of this Inquiry

23 that they were seeking advice and support from that

24 quarter?

25 A. I did have a conversation with the subsequent DCI and

 

 

79

 

1 their deputy, who said that they told the

2 Chief Constable that their advice is that they shouldn't

3 share that information with me. The other material that

4 I have seen came as a big surprise to me.

5 Q. Now, by that, do you mean the Security Service material

6 recording 629's comments at various points about what

7 was going on?

8 A. No, the recording of anything by the Security Service

9 doesn't come as a surprise. I think that the nature of

10 the approach surprised me.

11 Q. The nature of the approach by Special Branch?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Why were you surprised?

14 A. I was surprised that they had gone effectively over the

15 head of the Chief Constable.

16 Q. Now, after the time at which you obtained what you

17 wanted, end of January 2001, did, as it were, business

18 as usual resume or was there a lingering effect?

19 A. Whilst I have described the situation as frosty, these

20 were interactions with individuals all the time,

21 business was going on as usual, intelligence was flowing

22 both ways, we were putting intelligence into the

23 Special Branch, we were getting intelligence from them.

24 So to think that there was nothing else going on is

25 completely wrong.

 

 

80

 

1 Q. So that would be the sort of distorted or misleading

2 picture that you refer to in your statement that you and

3 I discussed?

4 A. Absolutely.

5 Q. So while, as it were, the grandees in both organisations

6 were arguing about these matters on the ground, there

7 was effective and continuing cooperation between your

8 team and Special Branch. Is that right?

9 A. We still got intelligence. Clearly the fact that people

10 in Mahon Road were talking about this didn't help but,

11 you know, as far as I'm concerned, intelligence flows

12 were still going on. And one point: I would never

13 describe myself as a grandee.

14 Q. Thank you. Fair comment, if I may say so.

15 So far as the information that you did see at the

16 end of January is concerned, as I understand it, in fact

17 it did not lead to significant new avenues of enquiry.

18 Is that fair?

19 A. That is right.

20 Q. Now, can I move on to ask you just a few questions about

21 other aspects of the investigation, and I'm going to

22 first ask you to focus on what I called yesterday

23 Operation George? I appreciate that's not the way you

24 knew it at the time, but we looked together yesterday at

25 a secret policy file document, 3 June, and I suggested

 

 

81

 

1 to you -- and I think you agreed -- that it was some

2 time after that the proactive work began?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Can I ask you this: before launching those proactive

5 operations, which were focused, were they not, on the

6 key suspects --

7 A. That's right.

8 Q. -- did you undertake in the investigation team a review

9 of the intelligence you had received to that point, to

10 ensure that there was a sound basis for the operation?

11 A. There was an ongoing review, all the time. We sat down

12 on a regular basis and talked about it, and I think as

13 time has gone on, for about the third time this morning,

14 we were on the right lines.

15 Q. Right. Now, as at that point, early June 1999, again

16 doing what you can to cast your mind back, was the

17 situation at that point that you were still the only

18 person who was able to do, as it were, the detailed work

19 on provenance, on validation?

20 A. Yes, I think -- that's my recollection, yes.

21 Q. So in a sense, if anybody had done the work to check it

22 out to the extent that you could at that point, you were

23 that person?

24 A. I totally take that responsibility. That was me.

25 Q. Yes. And as I understand it, the way in which the

 

 

82

 

1 operation -- or operations -- began, the way they were

2 set up, you were drawing very much on your own personal

3 experience in the Southeastern Crime Squad?

4 A. And before.

5 Q. And before. But this was, as it were, one of your areas

6 of experience and expertise. Is that a fair way of

7 putting it?

8 A. Together with the DCI, from the intelligence and his

9 whole team, we were very experienced in that sort of

10 work.

11 Q. Thank you.

12 A. Together with another individual who I think is

13 excluded --

14 Q. Yes. So far as, as it were, the grand plan or the

15 strategy behind this proactive work is concerned, can

16 I ask you, please, to look with me at paragraph 125 of

17 your second statement at RNI-817-458. I think I won't

18 have that paragraph on the screen. Do you have a hard

19 copy of that part of your statement?

20 A. Paragraph 125?

21 Q. Yes.

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Thank you very much. I think we will deal with it

24 without looking at it on the screen. I hope everybody

25 else can manage. What you say there is:

 

 

83

 

1 "Operation George ..."

2 Using that term:

3 "... was about getting technical deployments to

4 capture their ..."

5 The individuals whose names have been redacted:

6 "... conversations."

7 Again, there has been a redaction:

8 "... using undercover operatives to make them feel

9 at home and try to find out what they knew."

10 In very simply terms that was the strategy behind

11 the operation. Is that right?

12 A. Yes, that's fair.

13 Q. And so far as the course of the operation is concerned,

14 at 136 and 137 of this same statement, which I think we

15 can have on the screen, please, at RNI-817-461 and

16 RNI-817-462 (displayed), you give details to us of all

17 the various sources of advice and help you drew on

18 during the course of the work?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Now, so far as what it yielded in terms of the

21 Rosemary Nelson case is concerned, you deal with that in

22 relation to the relevant individuals at paragraph 127,

23 RNI-817-458 and RNI-817-459. If we can have those on

24 the screen, please (displayed). There you say that one

25 of the individuals, at the top of RNI-817-459:

 

 

84

 

1 "... made a number of detailed admissions concerning

2 terrorist offences in Northern Ireland. However, when

3 the matter of Mrs Nelson's murder was raised, that

4 individual [name redacted] stated that she had been

5 killed by ... "

6 Then you have a quotation:

7 "... 'the British Government'."

8 Now, obviously one of the issues, as you are aware,

9 raised by Mr Ayling in his report is how significant

10 this was in terms of the contrast between an apparent

11 willingness to talk about involvement in very serious

12 offences, including murder, and the consistent denial?

13 A. Mr Ayling doesn't mention the fact that he also denied

14 killing Elizabeth O'Neill in his report, but he was

15 subsequently convicted of killing Elizabeth O'Neill.

16 That report is partial.

17 Q. Sorry, this is the Ayling Report?

18 A. That's right.

19 Q. Is that your view in general, so we can be clear

20 about it?

21 A. It is.

22 Q. That Mr Ayling only considers, as it were, aspects but

23 not the totality of the situation?

24 A. I think that is a fair analysis, yes.

25 Q. And as a matter of interest, since you have raised that,

 

 

85

 

1 is that what you have in mind when you make a comment

2 right at the beginning of one of your statements that it

3 is easy for people in this context who weren't dealing

4 with problems at the time to make criticisms with

5 hindsight?

6 A. Yes, that's correct.

7 Q. You are getting at -- I don't mean "getting at" in that

8 sense, but you are referring to the Ayling Report in

9 that context?

10 A. I am, yes.

11 Q. But just allowing for that comment -- I'm not in any way

12 seeking to take issue with you on it -- but how

13 significant was it that there was this repeated comment

14 to the effect that that individual was not involved in

15 this particular offence, the offence that you were

16 investigating?

17 A. I think there is ample evidence in the transcripts which

18 shows that he had quite strong knowledge of what took

19 place. He refers on a regular basis to the bomber, (redacted)

20 (redacted), to how clever he is. I think on the

21 basis of the other information that is available, the

22 relationship between these individuals, what they were

23 talking about, the denial of Mrs O'Neill's murder, the

24 fact that one of these people said it was a product of

25 two paramilitary organisations, the fact that the (redacted)

 

 

86

 

1 of the organisation passed -- effectively was

2 instrumental in the code word, that's why I say

3 Mr Ayling's report is partial.

4 Q. Obviously what you have been saying is from memory. Can

5 I just help you by showing you paragraph 153 of your

6 statement, where you give rather more specific detail of

7 some of those examples. That's RNI-817-468 (displayed).

8 Do you see that? We have it there on the screen.

9 A. I have many more examples.

10 Q. But those are the ones you set out for us there. Can

11 I just ask you to look with me at part of the

12 transcript, including a section that I think you are

13 referring to there. Do you see the first bullet point,

14 you refer to "brilliant target"?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Him describes Mrs Nelson on 30 August as being

17 a "brilliant target". Then you say there:

18 "He maintained they ..."

19 Presumably the LVF in this context:

20 "... had looked at her before, but were hoping to

21 shoot Colin Duffy, the IRA commander."

22 Then you leave some dots and put a quotation mark?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Can we look at that passage together, please,

25 RNI-624-015 (displayed).

 

 

87

 

1 Now, I'm not sure we -- you and I certainly -- have

2 looked at any of this transcript before, but as I

3 understand it, it is something drawn up and typed out

4 by, as it were, the listeners?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. And based on recordings made in an undercover way?

7 A. That's right.

8 Q. Yes. We can see now just a part of it. I think the

9 relevant part that you are quoting in your statement

10 here begins at the bottom of the page.

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Reference to her being a good target. Just to be

13 clear -- sorry, I should have asked you this at the

14 outset -- these were remarks captured on tape while

15 a programme about Rosemary Nelson was being watched?

16 A. That's right.

17 Q. Thank you:

18 "A good target for the plots. Definitely, like, you

19 know what I mean, like, you know, as an honour, like,

20 a brilliant target."

21 There is the expression?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. "We have looked at her before, but we were hoping to

24 shoot Colin Duffy, the IRA commander she was riding."

25 Is what it actually says:

 

 

88

 

1 "So every time we were targeting him, she was

2 turning up, know what I mean? So that it was touch and

3 go, because he was under 24-hour surveillance by the

4 fucking special forces.

5 "Answer: Right, so you couldn't get near him?"

6 Then various other comments of that kind.

7 Now, just looking at those comments at the top of

8 the page, that takes us back, doesn't it, to the

9 connection between Rosemary Nelson and Colin Duffy,

10 illustrated in a vivid way in these remarks?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. And the association between them, the one referred to

13 there, is not professional, is it?

14 A. No.

15 Q. Now, when you picked up, as you did at the end

16 of August 2000 -- this was recorded -- comments of that

17 kind, did that not make you consider whether you needed

18 to find out more about the way in which that perceived

19 association between the two of them might have led to

20 her murder?

21 A. In reality, no.

22 Q. Why was that?

23 A. I didn't think it was necessary. Here we had a target

24 who we had proved through intelligence was responsible

25 for killing Rosemary Nelson, and here he is using

 

 

89

 

1 further unfortunate comments to revile her, to be

2 honest.

3 Q. But they are not comments about her relationship with

4 him as a lawyer, are they?

5 A. No.

6 Q. That's the way you put it in your statement,

7 paragraph 83?

8 A. Yes, it is.

9 Q. It was much broader than that, yes?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. That's a fair comment?

12 A. That's a fair comment, yes.

13 Q. Now, in relation to the Rosemary Nelson investigation --

14 I appreciate you have set out what you believe to be the

15 partial approach of Mr Ayling on this topic -- you will

16 understand what he is saying about it, which is that in

17 relation to that matter, rather than the other very

18 serious matters which did emerge in the course of this

19 work, there should at least have been a review after

20 these operations had been in place for some time in

21 order to see whether in fact what the operations were

22 telling you pointed against the key suspects?

23 A. There was an ongoing review, which is evidenced in our

24 intelligence coordinating meetings, chaired by myself.

25 There was a physical review of the legality with our

 

 

90

 

1 legal adviser. There were reviews conducted between

2 myself and an individual, who was extremely well

3 equipped in this particular area. And as I have listed

4 here, a number of other individuals advised all the way

5 through. So constantly we are checking, checking,

6 rechecking.

7 Q. What about the parallel criticism made that part of the

8 problem here was that the very intelligence you had

9 received at the outset pointing in this particular

10 direction was not subject to proper rigorous validation

11 until Mr Provoost began his review some years after you

12 had left?

13 A. I would say that Mr Ayling has come into this with an

14 English hat on and not an Irish hat.

15 Q. Now, just in relation to that comment, what is it

16 particularly about the contrast between the English and

17 the Irish contexts that leads you to say that that's

18 a problem with Mr Ayling's criticism?

19 A. I think I would like to widen the point.

20 Q. Yes.

21 A. And you know, to expect anyone to make admissions is

22 fine and that's what we wanted. The bottom line is we

23 didn't get the, "I killed Rosemary Nelson", but what we

24 did get was a number of comments throughout the whole of

25 that investigation of 50,000 hours that we listened

 

 

91

 

1 to -- Mr Ayling hasn't, as far as I understand it -- of

2 very significant intelligence, which indicates that we

3 were on the right track.

4 Q. Just looking at that question of admissions and focusing

5 on this particular case, Rosemary Nelson, if the

6 individual regarded her as a brilliant target, and given

7 the strength of feeling about her that we have seen

8 strikingly demonstrated by "Monster Mashed" found, as we

9 have agreed, in the house of somebody you believed had

10 a connection with this murder, doesn't all of that make

11 it more likely that the individual will want to claim

12 credit for this particular attack on a brilliant target?

13 A. But, again, I would refer you to other transcripts which

14 indicates that this organisation were very aware of the

15 political impact that that would have upon their

16 organisation if it was any way associated to them and,

17 therefore other organisations were seen to claim it.

18 And I think we can actually more or less prove that this

19 was claimed on behalf of this organisation.

20 Q. Now, so far as the impact of these operations on the

21 overall investigation is concerned, as you are no doubt

22 aware, the suggestion is being made that the focus, the

23 energy, of the investigation was turned away from

24 traditional investigation going on in Northern Ireland

25 to the proactive operations with a consequential

 

 

92

 

1 reduction in energy and progress over here. What is

2 your answer to that suggestion?

3 A. I would say that's nonsense. What I would say is that

4 there are three elements to this investigation, which

5 I have articulated in my statement and we have

6 rehearsed. Understandably, when you are getting

7 intelligence coming into a live investigation, that will

8 raise actions and we will follow those actions. I think

9 if you look at any academic research in relation to

10 investigations, you will see a drawing away from

11 victim-focused investigations to suspect-focused

12 investigations, and I am afraid Mr Ayling pays no

13 consequence to that whatsoever.

14 Q. Now, in terms of your focus, moving away from the

15 specific area of these operations, Operation George, you

16 tell us in paragraph 161 of this same due diligence

17 statement at RNI-817-470 (displayed), you remained alive

18 to the possibility that the key suspects were not

19 involved in Mrs Nelson's murder?

20 A. That's right.

21 Q. And obviously one sees what you are saying there. It

22 would help if you could point to evidence of that or to

23 examples which show that you did indeed keep an open

24 mind in that regard.

25 A. I think if you look at the collusion investigation in

 

 

93

 

1 particular, the lengths that we went to in relation to

2 that, the lengths that we went to in individuals. If

3 information came into the investigation, we investigated

4 it, particularly in relation to collusion. We went to

5 inordinate lengths, and those are demonstrated, I think,

6 in the actions throughout the whole of this

7 investigation.

8 So, you know, we were all the time looking,

9 rechecking and checking, and I think that's demonstrated

10 from the HOLMES database as well.

11 Q. Can I just conclude with two points. This is concluding

12 the open session, obviously.

13 The first is this: clearly in the course of your

14 preparation, preparation for interview then the

15 preparation of witness statements, you have familiarised

16 yourself again with a good deal of material, which is

17 now, a lot of it, very old. What I wanted to ask you is

18 this -- and doing obviously the best you can to assist

19 the Panel: in the course of that review, looking back

20 over old documents, decision-making, strategies, have

21 you identified anything that you feel on reflection you

22 should have done differently in this case?

23 A. Yes, I think -- you know, in fairness, I think I have

24 mentioned a few of those in terms of the way that

25 I dealt with particular issues. I think, you know, I am

 

 

94

 

1 the sort of person who reflects, who looks upon my

2 actions and, yes, there is quite a number of things.

3 I made mistakes, I'm the first to admit it. I have

4 learned from those mistakes and I have continued to

5 learn from those mistakes, and hopefully will learn in

6 the future.

7 Q. Is there any mistake, to use that term, or is there any

8 decision you made that you have now had a chance to

9 reconsider, that you actually think made a difference in

10 the investigation?

11 A. Given the totality of things, I can't recall any at the

12 moment. There is no doubt that -- you know, upon

13 detailed reflection, I will be able to do that, but at

14 the moment, sitting here, I can't recall.

15 Q. Now, I'm sure you know that I give witnesses an

16 opportunity to add to their evidence in the open session

17 if there is a matter or point that we haven't yet

18 covered, the two of us. Is there anything you would

19 like to add?

20 A. There is a lot, but in fairness to the Panel and in

21 fairness to you, Mr Phillips --

22 THE CHAIRMAN: We are very patient, Mr Port.

23 A. I appreciate that, sir.

24 I would like to emphasise -- and you have touched on

25 it lastly -- about the totality and the magnitude of

 

 

95

 

1 this investigation, the steps that were taken by my

2 team, by the dedicated professionals, lots of whom

3 worked away from home for a long time, one in particular

4 who is still working away from hem home. We did it

5 because we had one thing in mind and that's to find out

6 who killed Rosemary Nelson. It is a great

7 disappointment to us that we haven't achieved that.

8 I think there is a strong indication that we know who

9 did it and I'm sure Arthur Provoost will continue with

10 his tracking down and proving who did it.

11 I'm grateful for the opportunity. I'm grateful for

12 the opportunity of commenting upon Mr Ayling's report,

13 and I won't comment any further on it at this stage.

14 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

15 MR PHILLIPS: Thank you.

16 Questions by SIR ANTHONY BURDEN

17 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Could I just, on the Operation George

18 issue, using some of the comments made by other

19 witnesses, if I may, just to glean your own personal

20 comments: we have been told Operation George -- I think

21 you said this yesterday -- was an integral line of

22 enquiry; it wasn't a separate operation?

23 A. Absolutely, so.

24 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: At the time that you launched this

25 proactive line of enquiry, there was a natural reduction

 

 

96

 

1 in the number of more traditional lines of enquiry.

2 Many of those had been worked through and exhausted. Is

3 that fair comment?

4 A. They were still ongoing.

5 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Yes.

6 A. Yes.

7 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Once you got into this proactive line

8 of enquiry, it was possible, was it not, that you could

9 have gleaned the information you required at several

10 stages, not only during the technical stage but during

11 any arrest and interview situation (redacted)

12 (redacted),

13 (redacted) All of those were available to you?

14 A. And that was part of our articulated strategy, sir.

15 SIR ANTHONY BURDEN: Thank you. Thank you very much indeed.

16 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Well, we will adjourn now and in

17 about a quarter of an hour go to a closed session.

18 MR PHILLIPS: I hope so, sir.

19 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes.

20 MR PHILLIPS: I hope so.

21 (12.12 pm)

22 (Short adjournment)

23 (12.45 pm)

24 (Closed session)

25 (1.53 pm)

 

 

97

 

1 (The short adjournment)

2 (3.30 pm)

3 THE CHAIRMAN: The checklist, Mr Myers? Is the public area

4 screen fully in place, locked and the key secured?

5 MR MYERS: It is, sir, yes.

6 THE CHAIRMAN: Are the fire doors on either side of the

7 screen closed?

8 MR MYERS: Yes, sir.

9 THE CHAIRMAN: Are the technical support screens in place

10 and securely fastened?

11 MR MYERS: Yes, sir.

12 THE CHAIRMAN: Is anyone other than Inquiry personnel and

13 Participants' legal representatives seated in the body

14 of this chamber?

15 MR MYERS: No, sir.

16 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Can the video engineer please

17 confirm that the two witness cameras have been switched

18 off and shrouded?

19 THE VIDEO ENGINEER: Yes, sir, they have.

20 THE CHAIRMAN: All the other cameras have been switched off?

21 THE VIDEO ENGINEER: Yes, sir, they have.

22 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

23 Bring the witness in, please.

24 The cameras on the Panel, Inquiry personnel and the

25 Full Participants' legal representatives may now be

 

 

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1 switched back on.

2 Would you please take the oath.

3 B629 (sworn)

4 Questions by MR PHILLIPS

5 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Please sit down.

6 Yes, Mr Phillips?

7 MR PHILLIPS: I think you have made a statement to the

8 Inquiry and we can see it at RNI-846-405 (displayed) and

9 do we see your ciphered signature at RNI-846-488

10 (displayed) and the day of 7 January this year?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Thank you. You have been granted anonymity in the

13 Inquiry and given the cipher B629 and I hope that you

14 have on the desk in front of you a list of other names

15 and ciphers, do you?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Thank you. I would be grateful if you would consult

18 that list from time to time as you are about to

19 pronounce a name, so that the anonymity of those

20 individuals may also be preserved.

21 Now, can I start with you by looking at your career,

22 which you set out for us in paragraph 1 of the

23 statement. You joined the force in March 1968 and moved

24 to Special Branch rather under two years later. Is that

25 correct?

 

 

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1 A. That's correct.

2 Q. Thank you. And retired after, it would appear, some

3 31 years in Special Branch in the rank of detective

4 chief superintendent in July 2001?

5 A. That's correct.

6 Q. Thank you. Now, so far as the positions that you

7 occupied in the 1990s are concerned, you tell us from

8 1990 you were in the South Region as Head of

9 Special Branch South East and Deputy Head of the South

10 Region, and then for the last six or seven years of your

11 career you were the Head of Special Branch in the South

12 Region?

13 A. Correct.

14 Q. Thank you. Could I ask you, please, to look at the

15 chart that the Inquiry has prepared of the structure of

16 Special Branch. And can we look, please, at the

17 pre-Warner chart (displayed).

18 Now, so far as your position is concerned on this

19 chart, do we see you there as Regional HSB in the bright

20 blue box one down from E7/E8 South?

21 A. Correct.

22 Q. Thank you. And set out there on the chart slightly

23 lower down are the various divisions within South

24 Region. What you tell us in your statement is that the

25 divisions that it encompassed, so far as you were

 

 

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1 concerned, were H, G, J and K. Is that right?

2 A. That's correct.

3 Q. Thank you. And looking over to the chart -- the

4 post-Warner chart, please (displayed), so, again, that

5 being the situation as I understand it from about

6 1996/1997 and we see you there, don't we? This time you

7 have moved slightly more into the middle of the chart,

8 the bright blue box with your deputy below you, and

9 again I think your evidence is that in terms of the

10 divisions within South Region there were in fact just

11 four?

12 A. That's correct.

13 Q. So L Division, which we have there shouldn't be there.

14 Is that right?

15 A. Correct, it is in North Region.

16 Q. Thank you very much. We have made a number of

17 amendments to these charts and we will amend it again to

18 make sure we have got it absolutely right.

19 A. It had been in South Region prior to some structural

20 changes.

21 Q. Thank you very much. Can I just ask you -- if we can

22 remove the chart from the screen, please -- in terms of

23 your position in South Region as Regional Head of

24 Special Branch, was it unusual to remain in post for

25 that length of time, six or seven years?

 

 

101

 

1 A. No.

2 Q. Well, to take an example, had your predecessor been in

3 post for that sort of period?

4 A. Yes, he had. He probably would have been there longer

5 only for ill health.

6 Q. Yes. We have heard about the impact on the upper ranks

7 of Special Branch of the Chinook disaster in 1994 and

8 the fact that that required officers to come into

9 Special Branch, sometimes from outside Special Branch,

10 in relatively senior positions.

11 Now, we have also heard what was described by one

12 witness at least as a policy of cross fertilisation,

13 where officers would come in from other parts of the

14 force, again sometimes at very senior levels, to

15 Special Branch. Was that something you were familiar

16 with?

17 A. Absolutely. My predecessor had been a senior CID

18 officer as, indeed, the Head of TCG was.

19 Q. Yes. And we have also heard evidence, as I'm sure you

20 are aware, from B542, who became the Head of

21 Special Branch in, I think, January 1998, during your

22 period in South Region and he had previously been in

23 uniform?

24 A. Correct.

25 Q. And it that happens his deputy was an officer who had

 

 

102

 

1 spent his career in CID?

2 A. Correct.

3 Q. Thank you. As a matter of interest during your service

4 as Head of South Region, how many heads of department

5 did you serve under?

6 A. I think it was three, possibly four.

7 Q. Three or four?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Now, so far as your reporting lines are concerned, you

10 tell us in paragraph 2 -- if we could have that on the

11 screen, please, RNI-846-605 (displayed) -- that you

12 reported both to the Head of E Department and also to

13 your territorial assistant chief constable for the South

14 Region?

15 A. Absolutely.

16 Q. Thank you. Can I just ask you in terms of regular

17 briefings how often would you brief or speak to your

18 head of department, E Department?

19 A. Every day.

20 Q. Every day. Was that in the morning?

21 A. Mostly -- yes, first thing in the morning but it could

22 be three or four time a day depending on what was

23 happening.

24 Q. As events demanded?

25 A. Absolutely.

 

 

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1 Q. What about your regular reporting to ACC South?

2 A. Similar.

3 Q. And more often as events required it?

4 A. Absolutely.

5 Q. In more general terms were those briefings concerned

6 with detail or did they tend to be, if I can use that

7 expression, big picture?

8 A. Both, detail and big picture.

9 Q. In terms of your position as Head of the South Region,

10 how much autonomy did you have?

11 A. Quite a lot, but I always had to report directly to

12 my -- in line manager. In relation to operations

13 et cetera, both the regional ACC and the departmental

14 ACC, both had to be informed.

15 Q. One can see how in some cases it might be difficult to

16 have two bosses, to have two line managers. Who did you

17 regard as your principal line manager, if I can put it

18 that way?

19 A. Well, first of all, for operations it was the regional

20 ACC. He was responsible for everything operationally

21 within the region. In relation to my line manager and

22 the -- that would have been the departmental ACC.

23 Q. Right. And that didn't cause any difficulty for you in

24 the course of your work?

25 A. None whatsoever.

 

 

104

 

1 Q. Now, what the Head of E Department told us in his

2 statement to the Inquiry is this:

3 "In terms of the operational day-to-day running of

4 E Department, this was essentially in the hands of the

5 regional head for each region."

6 Is that a fair way of characterising it?

7 A. Correct.

8 Q. And in practice, given the fact that you remained in

9 your position whereas your heads of department had

10 a certain level of turnover -- you said three or four of

11 them -- did that in practice give you a greater degree

12 of autonomy, do you think?

13 A. No.

14 Q. That didn't have any effect on the matter?

15 A. No.

16 Q. Now, you are no doubt aware that in various reports on

17 the operation of Special Branch over the years,

18 a concern has been expressed that there was a structural

19 problem with the department, namely that the

20 Headquarters was too weak, as it were, the centre, and

21 the regions were too strong.

22 Now, was that a concern that you remember being

23 expressed during your time in South Region?

24 A. Not really, no. Not really.

25 Q. Well, it was a matter, wasn't it, dealt with in the

 

 

105

 

1 Warner Report?

2 A. Absolutely, yes, absolutely.

3 Q. Yes. And I think it is right to say, isn't it, that it

4 was also a concern expressed by an individual whose name

5 I'm not going to use but I'm hoping you are going to

6 understand who I'm talking about. He is an intelligence

7 professional, if I can put it that way, who investigated

8 Special Branch in the autumn of 1999 and reported

9 in April 2000?

10 A. That's correct.

11 Q. You know who I'm talking about?

12 A. Yes, I do.

13 Q. Can we just have a look at a letter that he sent to the

14 then DCI -- that's the head of or the senior Security

15 Service officer in Northern Ireland -- in January 2000,

16 in the middle of his work. That's at RNI-532-119

17 (displayed). Obviously there are a good deal of ciphers

18 in this document, but it is addressed to, as I said, the

19 then DCI. The name of the professional which appears at

20 RNI-532-121, has been redacted, but it is, as it were,

21 an interim report to the DCI as to his findings.

22 And if you look at the way the letter is set out,

23 under the heading "Intelligence and Criminal

24 Investigation", first of all he sets out the main

25 issues, do you see, beginning at (i) at the bottom of

 

 

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1 the page. Continuing on the next page, RNI-532-120

2 (displayed), refers there in paragraph 4 to the concerns

3 that Stevens, now Lord Stevens, and Port have voiced and

4 talks about the recommendations that he and his

5 colleagues, I should say, were going to make.

6 But the passage I want to look at with you in

7 particular is 6, do you see at the bottom of this page:

8 "SB as an intelligence organisation."

9 It begins:

10 "You are well aware of issues ..."

11 And then there is a reference to the Warner Report

12 that I have just mentioned.

13 If we go over to RNI-532-121 (displayed), what he

14 says there under the sentence:

15 "In brief, the RUC HQ is not fully effective

16 because:

17 "(i) it doesn't get all the intelligence the regions

18 produce;

19 "(ii) what it gets is sometimes overcompressed and

20 late;

21 "(iii) it's not able to provide effective feedback

22 to the regions on quality of intelligence product;

23 "(iv) it is not able to influence the thrust of

24 intelligence work in the regions."

25 Then (vi):

 

 

107

 

1 "The regions enjoy too much power and autonomy.

2 They have a vital task in managing the tactical

3 exploitation of intelligence to prevent terrorism and

4 must make a major contribution on strategic issues but

5 need to be under clearer strategic guidance from the

6 centre."

7 In the report that he produced in April, that was

8 followed through in the recommendations that he made,

9 wasn't it?

10 A. Number (i) -- one point I want to make quite clear:

11 I don't agree with point (i): It does not get all the

12 intelligence the regions produced. Every scrap of

13 intelligence that we got was fed to Headquarters.

14 Q. So that's the first point, and thank you fore raising it

15 because that's certainly a concern that was expressed by

16 Warner as well, wasn't it: that the regions held back

17 some intelligence from Headquarters?

18 A. It probably was a perception more so than a concern.

19 Q. But as far as you are concerned, it was ill founded. Is

20 that right?

21 A. Absolutely.

22 Q. Yes. What about the business at (vi) of the regions

23 enjoying too much power and autonomy?

24 A. That perhaps, again, was a perception. I knew both of

25 those men and met them both when they were doing their

 

 

108

 

1 job in Northern Ireland.

2 Q. Yes, they both came from outside the RUC, didn't they?

3 A. Absolutely, yes.

4 Q. They had done their work in England?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. And presumably when you met them you had an opportunity

7 to express your own views about these matters?

8 A. Absolutely.

9 Q. But in fairness to them it looks as though the

10 conclusions they reached were rather at variance with

11 those views?

12 A. Possibly, yes.

13 Q. Now, what about the point we saw earlier in the letter

14 at 120, RNI-532-120 (displayed) and (vi). If we go to

15 RNI-532-120, please (displayed). There (vi) says, under

16 paragraph 3:

17 "Evidence of variations in practice between SB

18 regions. We shall recommend thorough standardisation as

19 a matter of urgency."

20 Was it fair to say that with the regional autonomy

21 came some variations; in other words, differences

22 between the way one region dealt with matters as

23 compared to another?

24 A. That would be correct because each region evolved. They

25 were totally different areas within the country and what

 

 

109

 

1 pertained to, say, Londonderry/North Region, would not

2 have worked in South Region or in Belfast, and that's

3 why they were different.

4 Q. So you were aware of the fact that there were some

5 variations between your approach, say, and the Belfast

6 Region approach?

7 A. Yes, absolutely.

8 Q. Now, is it possible for you in this open session to give

9 us just an example of the variations and why you think

10 they came about?

11 A. I can't just -- you have caught me cold, to be honest

12 with you.

13 Q. Sorry.

14 A. I would need some time to think about, please.

15 Q. Perhaps it is something you can think about and perhaps

16 return to me tomorrow morning?

17 A. That's fine.

18 Q. So far as your region is concerned, we have seen as

19 a result of looking at the charts together, that it was

20 divided into the four divisions. Can I ask you: in

21 relation to the divisions, how much autonomy did they

22 have?

23 A. Well, the inspector was responsible for driving the

24 division.

25 Q. Yes.

 

 

110

 

1 A. But he had to report to his chief inspector and

2 superintendent at Mahon Road, i.e. the regional

3 headquarters.

4 Q. Yes.

5 A. He wasn't basically allowed to do things off-the-cuff or

6 whatever; he was accountable for everything he done.

7 Q. So he wasn't by any means a free agent?

8 A. Certainly not.

9 Q. No. Can we just have a look at the passage of your

10 statement where you deal with this? It is paragraph 9

11 at RNI-846-607 (displayed), and I am afraid this is one

12 of these cases where the paragraph continues over

13 another page, which is sometimes a little awkward on the

14 screen. But if you look at the passage that has been

15 highlighted for you there, you talk about the split

16 between South West and South East with two divisions in

17 each, first of all, and then you say that those two

18 parts of the Southern Region were overseen by a

19 detective superintendent and a detective chief

20 inspector:

21 "I empowered them to run their respective areas."

22 So there was a good deal of delegation, on this

23 basis anyway, to your -- I'm going to call them

24 deputies. That may not be the right word but the

25 individuals who controlled South West and then East. Is

 

 

111

 

1 that right?

2 A. That's correct.

3 Q. So that in terms of briefing you, as the regional head,

4 you didn't expect to be told everything?

5 A. Absolutely not, I didn't expect to be told minor things.

6 I wouldn't have had the time to deal with it.

7 Q. No. And below them then in turn were the local

8 subdivisional offices, and we can look at your

9 paragraph 10, please, on that, RNI-846-608 (displayed).

10 You there say the detective sergeants were in charge of

11 each subdivision and they -- do you see the third line

12 there:

13 "... were overseen by the detective inspector for

14 that division"?

15 So in terms of the day-to-day work, it was run by

16 the detective sergeants reporting up to the detective

17 inspector. Is that correct?

18 A. Correct.

19 Q. Now, just trying to focus on this level for a moment,

20 how much contact -- if you can look at regular contact

21 and give us a general view on that -- would you have had

22 with the DI, the detective inspector, for J Division?

23 A. It would depend on what was going on.

24 Q. Yes.

25 A. To be honest. Sometimes I may visit formally, maybe

 

 

112

 

1 once a month, but if things were happening in the

2 division, I would go along with the Superintendent or

3 chief inspector frequently to see them.

4 Q. So it might be much more regularly than that?

5 A. Sometimes, yes, depending if there was an incident or

6 operation that we were running or something that needed

7 to be looked at in-depth. He would come and see me with

8 his superintendent also.

9 Q. And what about the slightly lower level, the detective

10 sergeants who were looking after the subdivisions? How

11 frequently were you in contact with them?

12 A. Again, it depended on what happened. I knew nearly all

13 my men very, very well, all 128 of them.

14 Q. So you weren't some distant figure?

15 A. No, certainly not.

16 Q. These were people with whom you had worked over the

17 years in a lot of cases?

18 A. Absolutely.

19 Q. Now, what if somebody at one of these slightly lower

20 levels thought there was a matter that, as it were,

21 needed to go up the line because of its importance or

22 significance? Was the system formal in the sense that

23 if, for example, the detective inspector wished to go up

24 the line, he had to go to the Chief inspector, thence to

25 the Superintendent and thence to you?

 

 

113

 

1 A. Absolutely, but there was always an open door policy too

2 and they were always quite, shall we say, free to come

3 and visit if need be.

4 Q. Yes. Were there particular officers, perhaps because

5 you had got used to working with them, knew them

6 particularly well, who even if you weren't their

7 immediate line manager would feel able to raise things

8 with you directly?

9 A. Sometimes, yes, but there were some of those officers I

10 had known for a long, long time and probably felt closer

11 to me than some of the new guys that come into the

12 region.

13 Q. Yes. Now, can we just look at intelligence much more

14 broadly now and follow the order of your statement in

15 this regard by looking at paragraph 12, where you talk

16 about strategic intelligence requirements. They were

17 set by Government, weren't they?

18 A. Absolutely.

19 Q. And delivered to you and your colleagues, as I

20 understand it, by the Security Service. Is that right?

21 A. There was a format for doing it, in that basically the

22 priorities were set, they were forwarded to Headquarters

23 and then it percolated down to us.

24 Q. Through the hierarchy?

25 A. Through the hierarchy, yes.

 

 

114

 

1 Q. And in this same passage of your statement, the same

2 paragraph, you explain how in turn you would pass the

3 message down, if I can put it that way, through the

4 ranks in your region with the detective inspectors

5 driving it along at the regional level.

6 A. Correct.

7 Q. Now, then you deal with a committee we have heard about

8 before, the IRC, the intelligence review committee,

9 which, as you say, met monthly. Is that right? It is

10 at the very bottom of the page, sorry.

11 A. Oh, sorry.

12 Q. No, no that's fine. Two lines from the bottom?

13 A. Yes, that's correct.

14 Q. So that's a monthly meeting. You didn't attend it,

15 did you?

16 A. No.

17 Q. Just turning the page, you describe the very senior

18 officials who did attend it and then make the point,

19 three lines down, that of course the customers, if I can

20 put it that way, were the Government and various other

21 groups who were the people who wanted the intelligence

22 which led to the strategic intelligence requirements.

23 But then in the last sentence of this paragraph you

24 say:

25 "Ultimately, the DCI controlled all intelligence in

 

 

115

 

1 Northern Ireland."

2 Now, what I would like you to do, if you wouldn't

3 mind, is to explain the basis for that rather general

4 comment.

5 A. The name itself, the Director and Controller of

6 Intelligence, I think speaks volumes. Plus he handled

7 all the budget for all the intelligence, and that's it.

8 Q. We will come back to look at that in a little more

9 detail in a moment, but that's the way you saw it?

10 A. Yes.

11 Q. Now, can I just ask you a few questions about regional

12 management committee meetings because this is a topic

13 you talk about and, indeed, you comment on various

14 minutes in your statement. It is much later in the

15 statement, this, at paragraph 78, and that's

16 RNI-846-631. (displayed).

17 There you tell us that the general rule, as I

18 understand it, was that these would be weekly, but that

19 they would take place more frequently as occasion

20 required. Is that right?

21 A. Correct.

22 Q. And this was essentially a meeting in relation to the

23 South Region, wasn't it?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. So headed by the territorial ACC with the various

 

 

116

 

1 divisional commanders, and we see the minutes taken by

2 the ACC staff officer. Is that right?

3 A. Correct.

4 Q. And your role was to brief the meeting about the threat

5 situation in South Region?

6 A. Correct.

7 Q. Now, so far as your own structure of meetings is

8 concerned, can I just ask you to look at paragraph 9,

9 and that's at RNI-846-607 (displayed).

10 You have told us about how you would brief your

11 ACCs. This is, as it were, the other way round; this is

12 your more junior officials and, as I understand it, you

13 had a morning meeting with them every day at half past

14 nine?

15 A. Correct.

16 Q. And the various regional heads would be present, and the

17 head of the relevant source unit would read out the

18 latest intelligence. Is that correct?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. And in the context of that meeting, as I understand it,

21 you would issue instructions which would then, as it

22 were, go out from that meeting. Is that right?

23 A. Yes. The Head of the TCG also attended that meeting.

24 Q. Right.

25 A. And if we needed to action anything, a particular item

 

 

117

 

1 of intelligence that required surveillance or something

2 like that, he basically seen to that side of it.

3 Q. Right. Can I ask you this: in terms of making decisions

4 about priorities, where your resources ought to be

5 directed at that particular moment, was this the main

6 forum, the morning meeting?

7 A. Yes. There were ten officers in South Region at that

8 time operating, and equally -- each one was equally

9 demanding and bidding for resources. And we had to set

10 priorities, and that was based on basically common

11 sense: which piece of intelligence was the most

12 important and required immediate action, and I would

13 have arbitrated if need be.

14 Q. That was what I was going to ask you: in the end you

15 took the decision if there were competing bids for

16 resources?

17 A. Absolutely.

18 Q. Right. Now, you have mentioned TCG. Can I just ask you

19 a few questions about how that organisation fitted into

20 the framework? In paragraph 6, at RNI-846-606

21 (displayed), you tell us that you had to sign off any

22 operations to be undertaken in South Region. Do you see

23 that?

24 A. Yes.

25 Q. And obviously if you weren't around, your deputy would

 

 

118

 

1 do so. And did that apply to the TCG and everything

2 they were doing as well?

3 A. Yes. Sometimes, basically, the intelligence picture

4 could change very rapidly and a piece of intelligence

5 may come in that required immediate action, and the

6 senior superintendent at Mahon Road at that stage would

7 have authorised the action on it, whatever had to be

8 done. And maybe -- that may have meant shifting

9 resources from A to B or B to C, or whatever.

10 Q. Yes. As far as the TCG and their work was concerned,

11 their operations, they were no doubt dependent on

12 information given to them by Special Branch to, as it

13 were, set their tasking and go about their own business.

14 Is that right?

15 A. TCG was an intimate part of Special Branch.

16 Q. Yes.

17 A. And all operations were intelligence-driven.

18 Q. Yes. But did it fall to you in the end to determine how

19 much information, how much intelligence, was shared with

20 the TCG officers before they undertook operations?

21 A. Normally the Regional Superintendent -- or the

22 sub-superintendent would have done all that and would

23 have basically said, "This is what we will disseminate",

24 because we would not have disseminated everything to,

25 say, the surveillance team.

 

 

119

 

1 Q. Yes.

2 A. We had to protect sources --

3 Q. Yes. So there were even limits that you placed, because

4 of source protection, for example, on what you were

5 prepared to disclose to TCG?

6 A. Absolutely -- well, not to TCG, to the surveillance.

7 Q. Sorry, we must make that distinction, absolutely

8 right -- I'm sorry -- to the surveillance operators or

9 operatives.

10 A. The staff in TCG were quite free to walk in and out of

11 the intelligence unit to read the intelligence --

12 Q. Because the suggestion has certainly been made in some

13 of the evidence the Inquiry has heard that this was an

14 area in which the practice in South Region differed from

15 the practice in other regions, that South Region was

16 rather less willing to share intelligence with TCG

17 operatives than other regions. Do you think that is

18 a fair comment?

19 A. It is the first time I have heard it.

20 Q. The first time you have heard it. Are you in fact in

21 a position to speak as to the way matters in this regard

22 were handled in other regions?

23 A. No.

24 Q. Now, so far as other aspects of intelligence gathering

25 is concerned, the Inquiry has heard evidence about the

 

 

120

 

1 warrantry process and the role at the end of the

2 process, if I can put it this way, of the DCI and his

3 staff.

4 Now, looking not at the end of the process but at

5 the beginning, as I understand it applications which

6 originated in the South Region, in the local divisional

7 offices, would eventually make their way up to you for

8 your consideration and approval before being passed to

9 the head of department, the ACC E Department. Is that

10 correct?

11 A. Correct.

12 Q. Thank you. And can I take it from that that an

13 application of that kind would not have left South

14 Region and gone to Headquarters, to the ACC, had it not

15 met with your approval?

16 A. It shouldn't have.

17 Q. Yes.

18 A. If I was not there, my deputy would probably have done

19 it, but certainly not. It shouldn't have went up --

20 Q. That was --

21 A. -- with at least a superintendent having endorsed it.

22 Q. Yes. And was it your experience that at the next stage

23 of the process, once it had got into the hands of the

24 Security Service, there were occasions on which

25 questions would be raised, queries put back to you in

 

 

121

 

1 South Region?

2 A. Frequently.

3 Q. So they simply didn't accept the case, as you had put

4 it; they came back asking for more detail?

5 A. There may have been something that they thought would be

6 helpful, more helpful, or whatever, and they would have

7 come back with certainly questions, mostly to the

8 superintendents, not to me, to be honest.

9 Q. Yes. But were there occasions that you can recall where

10 you became involved in their requests for further

11 information?

12 A. Only -- occasionally, yes, on some very, very sensitive

13 and delicate cases, yes.

14 Q. What I would next like to ask you about is just a few

15 general questions, if I may, about CHIS, and you deal

16 with this in general terms in paragraph 11 of your

17 statement at RNI-846-608 (displayed). There have

18 obviously been redactions here, as you see.

19 Can I take it from the comments you have made here

20 that the business of recruitment was something that was

21 handled locally; in other words, at a much lower level

22 than yours? Is that right?

23 A. Yes, but some recruitment pitches, again, we would have

24 to sign off on them, and occasionally a very sensitive

25 one would have been brought to me so that I could

 

 

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1 basically, for want of a better term, add my so-called

2 experience or whatever.

3 Q. So at a relatively early stage in such cases, you might

4 have become involved?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Yes. What you say in the second line there is:

7 "I would sign off on each new source in the sense of

8 recruiting."

9 A. We had a format for doing it and basically we had a pro

10 forma and I signed off on that pro forma. It was prior

11 to RIPA and it was a procedure that we had adopted in

12 the Branch and we had it running in South Region, and

13 I think it also pertained to the whole Branch because it

14 was -- the Chief -- the ACC who was killed in the

15 Chinook who brought that system out.

16 Q. Now, so far as why you signed off in each case, you

17 explain that to us in paragraph 13 on the next page,

18 RNI-846-649 (displayed), where you say in the second

19 line there:

20 "It was important I signed off on each new CHIS in

21 case I ever needed to speak to the head of E Department

22 about them."

23 Do you see that? Sorry, it is the second line of

24 paragraph 13, the last two words. Do you see:

25 "It was important ..."?

 

 

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1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Now, do you mean by that you needed to sign off so that

3 you could be prepared if you were asked questions about

4 it by your head of department?

5 A. Absolutely.

6 Q. Yes.

7 A. And sometimes I would have to clear it with him too, if

8 it was a very sensitive case or operation.

9 Q. Now, then you go on to say:

10 "Before we could take on a new CHIS, it was

11 important we could check that they were not already

12 being run by one of the other agencies, for example ..."

13 Then there is a redaction, as you can see:

14 "... or the Security Service."

15 Is it right to say that during this period a number

16 of agents were jointly handled by Special Branch and the

17 Security Service?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. And is it also right to say by this stage that the Army

20 in Northern Ireland had a limited or possibly very

21 limited role in agent handling?

22 A. They had an agent handling section themselves, yes.

23 Q. But a limited one?

24 A. Well, it depends whether -- some regions were more

25 active than others.

 

 

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1 Q. Right. Thank you. Can I ask you to -- in this

2 connection -- to look at paragraph 16 of your statement

3 at RNI-846-610 (displayed)? Because here in relation to

4 CHIS, you are talking about the process whereby they

5 were, as you put it:

6 "... regularly monitored and their progress reviewed

7 every three to six months."

8 Do you see that?

9 A. Correct.

10 Q. Again, bearing in mind we are in an open hearing here,

11 can I just ask you: what steps would you take to

12 undertake that review with your detective

13 superintendent?

14 A. Number 1, the number of intelligence reports which each

15 agent produced. We looked at those -- well, the

16 Superintendent or Chief Inspector did with the head of

17 source unit. And basically what we were trying to do

18 was to ensure that we were getting value for money or

19 that the best was being achieved from the agents.

20 Q. And in that regard, what systems were in place in South

21 Region to monitor not so much the performance of the

22 CHIS but the relationship between them and their

23 handlers?

24 A. The Divisional Inspector was the first manager really

25 who looked at it. Also the Chief inspector and the

 

 

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1 Superintendent would speak to the handlers direct, and

2 frequently did, in relation to the product or the

3 performance of certain CHISs. I very seldom got

4 involved, to be honest.

5 Q. And under the system that you have describing not only

6 in your evidence but in your written statement, how much

7 autonomy in practice was given or rested with the

8 handlers?

9 A. The handlers were the people who interfaced weekly with

10 the agents.

11 Q. Yes.

12 A. Basically, the Inspector really looked very, very

13 closely at everything that was produced and he was the

14 gentleman who had really the hands-on, and he would have

15 been very quick to draw to our attention matters that

16 needed addressing or whatever.

17 Q. Can I just ask you on this topic some questions about

18 documentation. To what extent did you receive specific

19 debriefs from the handlers?

20 A. The debriefs would have been written in the

21 subdivisions, probably in long hand or whatever, and

22 then it would have been brought over. This is initially

23 before MACER and that come on stream. It would have

24 then been brought over to the source unit, where it

25 would have been put on PRISM. And PRISM was

 

 

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1 a management tool that we had for the region and all the

2 intelligence went on to PRISM as was written in hand by

3 the handlers, and then that went to E3 in Headquarters.

4 Then, basically, there would have been an SB50

5 created from that intelligence, or a SIDD, which later

6 followed the SB50 system.

7 Q. Yes. And it is right to say, isn't it, that the time we

8 are particularly concerned with -- in other words, the

9 late 1990s -- was a time when the old paper system was

10 gradually being replaced by the computer system?

11 A. Correct. At that stage there was an overlap between the

12 two systems and that probably caused some of the

13 problems which you will probably lead on to, I think.

14 Q. Yes. Now, so far as records and record-keeping is

15 concerned, what you have described is a series of stages

16 whereby the original information obtained from the

17 source or agent would be put into various different

18 types of document, on to a computer and then arrive in

19 Headquarters, the SB50s would be created, the SIDDs,

20 SIRs, as we now know that other documents were called,

21 et cetera.

22 Now, in the process of all of those stages, one can

23 see that forms of sanitisation were taking place in

24 order to protect the sources. That's correct, isn't it?

25 A. Correct.

 

 

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1 Q. But were there occasions when you or colleagues would,

2 for reasons perhaps of source protection or for other

3 reasons, decide that certain pieces of information

4 gleaned from agents were too sensitive, too delicate to

5 be recorded on the system at any stage?

6 A. No, that would -- it was all basically on how the

7 intelligence was written by the handlers. The

8 intelligence would have been written by the handler in

9 such a way that it could have been disguised or

10 protected.

11 Q. Yes. And so getting back to the point I was looking at

12 with you much earlier on, the question of whether all

13 information, all intelligence, made its way from the

14 region or the regions, plural, to Headquarters, are you

15 saying that despite all these processes, different types

16 of document, that in your region Headquarters got

17 everything that was gathered in?

18 A. Everything went on PRISM to Headquarters. The SIDD may

19 have been slightly different.

20 Q. Yes.

21 A. Because it was the distribution document.

22 Q. That I understand. It is the dissemination document,

23 isn't it?

24 A. Yes, that's correct.

25 Q. But in terms of the PRISM document, didn't that also

 

 

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1 contain a degree of sanitisation for source protection?

2 A. Yes, it would, yes.

3 Q. Yes. And so if what they were getting at best, as it

4 were, was a PRISM document, that material had already to

5 some degree been sanitised?

6 A. Correct.

7 Q. So are you saying that despite that sanitisation for

8 source protection, the essential information, the gist

9 of what had been said, was passed on in all cases?

10 A. Absolutely.

11 Q. So far as you are aware?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. Were there never cases that you were aware of when E3,

14 the desks, the officers there, came to the region or

15 rang up officers in the region and said, "There must be

16 more about X", or "This isn't a complete story about Y"?

17 A. The desk officers in E3 frequently visited the officers

18 in the region to try and get the handlers to develop the

19 intelligence further. And of course they always thought

20 there was more, we can get more. That was part of

21 their job.

22 Q. But as far as you are concerned, that wasn't because

23 there had been any deliberate withholding?

24 A. Certainly not.

25 Q. Now, just in this connection, can I ask you to look with

 

 

129

 

1 me at paragraph 8 of your statement because here you set

2 out the rationale for sanitisation, and that's at

3 RNI-846-607 (displayed). There what you are stressing,

4 as I understand it, is that it was important that

5 information should be sanitised before it reached

6 Headquarters because once it got there, it could be

7 disseminated outside the organisation altogether. Is

8 that right?

9 A. Just repeat that again, please?

10 Q. Sorry, it is a very long question. Do you see the first

11 sentence?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. You are saying:

14 "The process of sanitising the intelligence for SIRs

15 was very important as once intelligence went up to

16 Headquarters it could be disseminated to other

17 agencies."

18 So --

19 A. But I'm talking about the SIDD there.

20 Q. Yes.

21 A. Or the SB50.

22 Q. Right.

23 A. Not PRISM.

24 Q. I understand. But are you getting there at a point

25 which was of concern to you, that whatever you gave to

 

 

130

 

1 Headquarters had to be sanitised because, as it were,

2 you couldn't control what happened to it once it reached

3 Headquarters?

4 A. Sometimes the desk officers in Headquarters would ring

5 us up and ask for approval on a form of words that they

6 were prepared to disseminate, and that happened

7 frequently.

8 Q. And you would be consulted in that way?

9 A. Not me particularly, the superintendents and, at some

10 stages or instances, its divisional inspectors.

11 Q. And in terms of the marking on the various type of

12 document we have seen about what was permitted in terms

13 of dissemination, who was responsible for that?

14 A. The author of the report normally decided on the level

15 of dissemination. Sometimes that was changed by the

16 Regional Superintendent or even the DI on some

17 occasions.

18 Q. So originally the handler?

19 A. That's correct.

20 Q. And then there might be an alteration, but it would be

21 within the region, at any rate?

22 A. Yes, that's correct.

23 Q. It wouldn't be something done by Headquarters?

24 A. No, but sometimes Headquarters would come back after

25 a period of time and ask could we now disseminate that,

 

 

131

 

1 and after a period of time it may be okay to do it.

2 Q. Can I ask that, process of setting dissemination levels

3 and then possibly revising them, discussing them, did

4 that apply to every type of intelligence; in other

5 words, whether it be human or technical?

6 A. Sometimes it would have, yes.

7 Q. Yes.

8 A. But the system -- we had a problem with the system in

9 that it wasn't until much later, when it went

10 electronic, that we had a call-up system. I remember

11 that being developed just as I was leaving, and

12 sometimes intelligence got lost in the system because

13 you couldn't remember everything.

14 Q. So just to be clear, are you saying that that was

15 a problem in the era before computerisation?

16 A. It would have been, yes, in that sometimes, just because

17 of the volume of intelligence that was moving, some of

18 it may get buried for want of a better term, hidden,

19 overlooked.

20 Q. Yes.

21 A. That could have happened.

22 Q. What we have been told in relation to, as it were,

23 cross-referencing on the paper system, is that the way

24 the files were kept in the registry, for example, they

25 had annotations which would make it clear that if you

 

 

132

 

1 were looking at an individual in that file, you also

2 ought to be aware of references to him or her in the

3 following other files?

4 A. If there were six names on an intelligence report, that

5 should have went to six files. If it was an

6 organisational -- a particular organisation, a copy of

7 it should have also went to the organisational file.

8 Q. Thank you. That was the paper system?

9 A. That was the paper system.

10 Q. Now, can I just take you on this point about

11 dissemination between, as it were, the local and then

12 the regional Special Branch offices and the centre, to

13 just a paragraph in the Warner report, which I mentioned

14 before and didn't show you any part of it. It is at

15 RNI-548-179 (displayed) and it is paragraph 16. And

16 here the author says:

17 "I have long been concerned at the number of

18 potential filters which operate between the point at

19 which intelligence is collected by the RUC SB from its

20 agents and the product which reaches customers. Much

21 power is vested in local agent handlers and case

22 officers to decide what part of their agent debriefing

23 reaches the wider world because there is justifiable

24 concern lest the identities of their agents and delicate

25 operational details be too widely disseminated. There

 

 

133

 

1 is good evidence that in the past this has led to

2 withholding of what might properly be seen as

3 intelligence, rather than delicate operational detail,

4 and that, therefore, useful intelligence has fallen

5 between the cracks."

6 Now, this was addressing the paper system, given the

7 date of the Warner Report, 1996/1997, so it looks as

8 though certainly that experienced intelligence

9 professional felt that even the paper system had its

10 deficiencies on precisely this point: that because of

11 the way it moved from the local to the centre, there was

12 scope for important intelligence to fall between the

13 cracks.

14 Now, is that something you really never came across

15 in your years of service?

16 A. First of all, this is the first time I have seen the

17 Warner Report.

18 Q. Right.

19 A. He never, ever discussed this with me.

20 Q. Right.

21 A. And I have no evidence of this. And I would ask him to

22 produce it. I don't know, to be honest with you. I

23 can't answer that.

24 Q. So it really wasn't a problem that you were aware of in

25 your service?

 

 

134

 

1 A. I did not see it as a problem. I'm not saying it didn't

2 happen; it could have.

3 Q. And can I take it, therefore, that you never had

4 experience of, let's say, the desk officers or others at

5 Headquarters saying, "Look, we have now discovered that

6 there is a whole load of information which we should

7 have been given by you down in South Region. Why didn't

8 you give it to us?"

9 A. No.

10 Q. No. Now, so far as dissemination to CID is concerned,

11 here you mention in paragraph 3 of your statement the

12 criminal intelligence unit. That's at RNI-846-606.

13 Could we have that on the screen, please (displayed).

14 And you tell us that that was the official channel for

15 disseminating intelligence to CID. Now, as I understand

16 it, what you are saying to us there is the

17 responsibility for that dissemination was with E3. Is

18 that right?

19 A. (Pause) In addition to that we also had a briefing

20 sheet that we would have sent to the divisional CID

21 officers.

22 Q. Yes. We have seen many examples of that?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. But can I just start with the general point. As

25 I understood what you were telling us in this paragraph,

 

 

135

 

1 E3 was the part of Special Branch that dealt with

2 dissemination, and you give an example there. If

3 intelligence relevant to you in South Region had come

4 into Belfast, it would be E3 who would make sure that it

5 was passed on to you. Is that right?

6 A. Sometimes the Belfast source unit would also send

7 intelligence direct to the source unit.

8 Q. Direct. Right. That's the first thing to get right

9 because the picture we have rather been given is that E3

10 sat in the middle and if Belfast wanted to make sure

11 that something got to South Region, it had to go through

12 E3, which seemed a bit cumbersome. So on occasions it

13 happened direct. Is that right?

14 A. Yes, it did, yes.

15 Q. Right. That was the first thing. The next thing is

16 outside Special Branch but within the RUC to the CID.

17 Now, it may be that I have misunderstood you, but

18 are you saying that it was E3's responsibility to

19 disseminate intelligence to the criminal intelligence

20 unit?

21 A. It depends where it came from within Special Branch.

22 Sometimes, if it was coming from E9, it probably would

23 have been disseminated through E3 to the CIU. Normally

24 the source units in the respective regions -- I can only

25 speak for my own -- would have disseminated to the CIU,

 

 

136

 

1 plus the divisions by briefing sheet. And the people

2 who received it, I think, signed the sheet also.

3 Q. But then in addition, as I understand what you say, to

4 this official channel, as you put it, you spoke to your

5 counterpart in CID on a fairly regular basis?

6 A. Frequently.

7 Q. So just so I'm clear about this, this would be the

8 Detective Chief Superintendent in CID?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. Now, what of dissemination to CID at a lower level,

11 i.e. in terms of rank? Would there be regular liaison

12 between the Superintendent and then the detective

13 inspectors locally and their opposite numbers?

14 A. Yes, the divisional detective inspectors from both

15 disciplines would have liaised frequently together.

16 Q. And did that allow, as far as you were concerned, for

17 a rather less formal dissemination of intelligence that

18 was relevant to their investigations?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. Now, in this connection we have heard in recent evidence

21 the expression "corridor conversation" used of

22 discussions between investigators on the one hand and

23 their opposite numbers in local Special Branch offices,

24 where they, the investigators, would be able to seek to

25 put some flesh on the bones of intelligence which was

 

 

137

 

1 relevant to their case. Is that a way of doing things

2 with which you were familiar?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Yes. Now, so far as this area of practice within the

5 RUC is concerned, as I'm sure you are well aware,

6 concern or comments has been made, concern expressed,

7 from time to time in material the Inquiry has seen, in

8 evidence the Inquiry has heard, where CID officers have

9 felt that in some of their investigations -- I can see

10 it is familiar to you -- Special Branch were not as

11 willing to share relevant intelligence with them as they

12 should have been.

13 Now, that must have been a complaint or concern that

14 you were at least aware of. Is that right?

15 A. That was a constant perception.

16 Q. Yes.

17 A. And I think if you would speak to some gentlemen who

18 came into Special Branch from CID, they would tell you

19 that themselves.

20 Q. Yes. And, again, the reports we have been talking

21 about, Warner and the man we referred to as the

22 intelligence professional, that's an issue that they

23 both address, is it not?

24 A. Certainly the intelligence professional and ourselves,

25 we wanted to dispel that myth.

 

 

138

 

1 Q. Well, obviously, for the investigators it became

2 a source of frustration when they genuinely believed

3 that relevant intelligence had been withheld and, as

4 a result, to take an example, somebody who was guilty

5 had, as it were, got away without charge, without

6 conviction because Special Branch had not been prepared

7 to share intelligence with them.

8 Now, was this a problem which you as the regional

9 head were aware of in your time in that post?

10 A. If that issue arose, I would have went along to the

11 Regional Chief Superintendent and CID and explained the

12 various issues to him, and we had a common and frank

13 discussion on the matter and it would have been resolved

14 at that level.

15 Q. Now, so far as the reasons -- and, again, let's try and

16 keep this very general at the moment, if we can -- the

17 reasons for not passing on intelligence are concerned,

18 is it fair to say that the most likely, the most regular

19 reason would have been source protection?

20 A. The source's life.

21 Q. Yes. The safety --

22 A. It wasn't --

23 Q. -- and security of your assets?

24 A. Absolutely, it was not a matter of not passing on the

25 intelligence, it was a matter of passing it on in

 

 

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1 a manner that the source would be okay.

2 MR PHILLIPS: Sir, would that be a convenient moment?

3 THE CHAIRMAN: Certainly. And that is until tomorrow

4 morning?

5 MR PHILLIPS: Yes.

6 THE CHAIRMAN: What time do you suggest we start tomorrow

7 morning?

8 MR PHILLIPS: Well, this witness has kindly indicated that

9 he would be prepared, if necessary, to sit late

10 tomorrow.

11 THE CHAIRMAN: Yes.

12 MR PHILLIPS: With that in mind, I think we should start at

13 the usual time.

14 THE CHAIRMAN: That's quarter past ten?

15 MR PHILLIPS: It is.

16 THE CHAIRMAN: Right. Would you be good enough to be here

17 in plenty of time to start by quarter past ten tomorrow?

18 A. Absolutely, sir.

19 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

20 Could the cameras be switched off, please?

21 THE VIDEO ENGINEER: Yes, sir, they are off.

22 THE CHAIRMAN: Please escort the witness out.

23

24 (4.55 pm)

25 (The Inquiry adjourned until 10.15 am the following day)

 

 


 

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Questions by MR PHILLIPS ..................... 98
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